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Arroyo taps military in rice distribution

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:08:00 04/18/2008

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has made cheap rice more accessible to soldiers by tapping commissaries in military camps to distribute government-subsidized rice from the National Food Authority (NFA).

On Friday, the President opened an NFA rice outlet at the Camp Aguinaldo, where it is sold at P18.00 per kilo, which is cheaper by P0.25 than the NFA rice sold outside military camps because of the additional tax subsidy in military commissaries.

The NFA rice will be sold to enlisted personnel, veterans, and their dependents, and not to officers who could afford the more expensive commercial rice, said General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff.

“We are enlisting the Armed Forces to be an outlet for distributing this cheaper rice to the ordinary soldiers and their families who are after all the less privileged in our society,” the President said in a speech.

As she made her way to the stack of sacks of NFA rice at the commissary, the President told officials repeatedly that it should be made available to the enlisted personnel.

The outlet also sells cheap loaf bread and pan de sal called “Tinapay ng Bayan.”

The military has 32 commissaries in its camps nationwide, said Navy Captain Priscillano Ruiz, the general manager of the AFP commissary.

“All our outlets in the AFP commissary and exchange service system will now be used as the distribution outlets,” Esperon told reporters.

Demand for NFA rice increased after the price of commercial grain rose sharply, amid a global food crisis.

“Rice is a global issue and has deeply impacted the Philippines with the help of our armed forces and our policemen, as well as other policy makers and government officials we are taking strong swift decisive action to make sure it does not become a crisis,” Arroyo said.

“We are singularly focused on mitigating price to the best of our ability since the global situation became apparent many, many months ago,” she added.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

FriUTC2008-04-18T09:14:34+00:00UTC04bUTCFri, 18 Apr 2008 09:14:34 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am04

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