• Alcala faces another plunder complaint


    Another plunder complaint was filed on Wednesday against Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala with the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with “anomalous” rice imports.

    The Metro Manila Vendors’ Association claimed that Alcala and National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Orlan Calayag amassed P1.08 billion from the “massive” importation of rice from Vietnam.

    “This latest importation reeks of corruption and is clearly anomalous,” the vendors asserted, saying it was overpriced by at least $30 per MT.

    “There is absolutely no justification to import rice at a time when the country has abundant supply of it,” they said, noting that the deal was struck in summer when rice production was at its peak.

    The group, represented by its President Flora Santos, hit Alcala for contradicting his promise of rice self-sufficiency by 2013.

    “Alcala’s media statements were meant only to lull the public into believing that the tuwid na daan [straight path]policy being espoused by the [Aquino] administration would also include graft-ridden NFA,” the 13-page complaint read.

    The lifting of the quantitative restrictions on rice importation by June 30, 2012 contained in the Department of Agriculture’s rice self-sufficiency 2011 to 2016 roadmap should have already let the private sector take charge of importation, the group said.

    It added that Alcala and Calayag entered into the “midnight deal” because the rice importation was made just a few days before President Benigno Aquino 3rd appointed former senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan as Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agriculture Modernization.

    The group claimed that the two officials sealed the deal to import 800,000 metric tons (MT) of rice from Vietnam in April and that the volume of rice to be imported was more than the government’s quota of 187,000 MT. Vietnam Southern Food Corp. and Vietnam Northern Food Corp. won the contract.

    Emerson Palad, undersecretary and spokesman f the Department of Agriculture, said Alcala is yet to be informed about the latest plunder case filed against him.

    With James Konstantin Galvez


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    1. Sometime ago my father-in-law, who s now dead, said that there is one thing that politicians will be terrified to monkey around with and that is rice and its availability. Any anomaly on this very basic item will surely and inevitably cause the downfall of any administration. It is a sacred matter involving as it does the gut of every one in this country, the very rich or very poor. No such terror exists today, he would have lamented. The greed of the people in this administration pervades and encompasses everything and anything, so what if the price of this most basic of all commodities sour beyond the reach of the common people, I will extract my largesse before I end my tenure or am fired from this office after all this opportunity might not come again, these mongrels are won’t to argue. Throw in past NFA heads all are guilty of this travesty of our basic right to live decently, as many would say how can one survive when even rice is denied him.

    2. jose b. taganahan on

      What plunder? Former NFA Administrator Orlan A. Calayag EVEN proudly announced that the National Food Authority (NFA) saved P1.41 billion in the most recent importation of 800,000 metric tons (mt) of rice with 15-percent brokens, which was bought from Vinafoods of Vietnam at an average price of $438/mt. But will the NFA administrator please explain to the public why we paid more for the 500,000 mt of 25-percent brokens bought last year at $462.25/mt, shortly after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” struck, from the same supplier, Vinafoods?

      According to Manuel Q. Bondad in his letter “Is NFA’s P17-B rice imports via bidding the best option?” Opinion, 4/7/14), there is a $20-dollar gap, per mt, between the price of the 15-percent brokens and the 25-percent brokens. It follows that the cost of the 2013 imported rice with 25-percent brokens should have been only about $418 ($438 minus $20)/mt. Therefore, the price difference between what we actually paid and what we should have paid was $44 ($462.25-$418.00)/mt. Therefore, the overprice or kickback for the 500,000 mt of rice imported year after Yolanda could have reached as high as $22 million or about P1 billion

    3. There is already a dump site built for tons of cases filed against Aquino allies and appointees. It is impenetrable by anyone else, except Pnoy’s pauper ass lickers who will do everything for power and money and will remain untouched until evidences supporting them rot and become untraceable.

    4. Mon Magbanua on

      No matter how serious the corruption charges against Sec. Alcala & NFA Administrator Calayag regarding the usually corrupt import deals at the NFA, it is just doubtful that they could be convicted. In truth however, they are being used by the professional thieves at the NFA who have been running & manipulating the agency (formerly NGA/National Grains Authority) for several decades ago and all of them have been immuned/unscatched from lawsuits due to their legal and financial capabilities. The senior technocrats at NFA have devised ways and means to buy their way out of the dirty justice system with the help of hordes of corrupt officials from whoever is at the helm. Just ask present and retired NFA/NGA employees, rice retailers, traders and consumers and you will know everything about the DA/NFA mess. As they say, rice is a political and criminal tool.