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Thailand sends 5,000MT of rice for Yolanda victims

About 5,000 metric tons (MT) or 100,000 bags of rice were received by the Philippine government from Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) for the victims of typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in November last year.

The National Food Authority (NFA) formally received the rice donation through the Tier 3 program of the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR).

The APTERR’s Tier 3 program is a mechanism for the release of stockpiled emergency rice reserve to any member country which is in “acute and urgent emergency demand” for rice during emergencies. The emergency rice stockpile also serves as food assistance for poverty alleviation or malnourishment eradication.

The rice donation was turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for distribution to Yolanda victims in Leyte and Samar.

It arrived at the Cebu Port on March 28 and April 4 with 3,000 MT and 2,000 MT of rice, respectively.

It was transferred by the APTERR Secretariat to NFA by way of a donation but implementation of the Tier 3 program in the Philippines shall be undertaken by the NFA and the DSWD in coordination with Local Government Units (LGUs).

The turnover ceremony was followed by the formal launching of the rice distribution program in Tanauan, Leyte and Basey, Samar attended by the Thai government representatives, APTERR officials and key officers of the NFA, DSWD and the concerned local government units.

APTERR is composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam plus China, Japan and Korea.

In November 11, 2013, NFA, being the Philippine representative to the APTERR Council, wrote the APTERR Secretariat to be able to avail of some 5,000 MT of stockpiled rice reserve from capable and willing APTERR member countries under the Tier 3 mechanism to address the country’s urgent need for rice stocks due to the devastation wrought by typhoon Yolanda.

As stated in the memorandum of agreement between the APTERR Secretariat and NFA, “the DSWD shall distribute 2,500 MT or 50,000 bags in Leyte and 2,500 MT or 50,000 bags in Samar.”

The NFA is in-charge of the preposition of stocks to predetermined stockpile areas. It will also take charge in the storage and maintenance of the stocks at the assigned NFA warehouses. NFA is also tasked to allocate and ship the rice stocks to DSWD designated distribution points in the calamity areas.

All operational expenses, including unloading of stocks from the vessel to the conduct of actual rice distribution, will be shouldered by DSWD.

It is expected that the program will be fully implemented and completed between April and July this year.