Food aid in Kidapawan continues despite lack of supplies

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KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / April 18) – The city government will continue its second wave of food rationing next week to some 43,000 poor households affected by the strengthened community quarantine to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID -19).

Attorney Cristopher Cabilen, secretary of Sangguniang Panglungsod ng Kidapawan, said the city council and the city mayor’s office reached a consensus on Friday that the city government will continue its food rationing, putting aside in the ‘interval, the board’s inquiry. on the poor quality of the rice that was distributed last week.

The investigation, according to Cabilen, will continue after the city ends with the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or when everything returns to normal.

Goods for door-to-door distribution of Humanitarian Aid from Kidapawan Municipal Government led by Philippine Red Cross, City Social Welfare and Development Bureau and Barangay Local Government units on April 7, 2020 The beneficiaries are Barangays Manongol, Perez, Meohao, Birada, Mua-an, Ginatilan, Balabag and Ilomavis. Photo courtesy of Kidapawan Municipal Government

Reports said city officials had identified the source of the bags of rice which are believed to be old stock, brownish in color, broken or adulterated, and which contained weevils and stone grains.

“The unscrupulous trader was outside of North Cotabato but just very close to town. The stocks came from this trader, ”said a city official who requested anonymity.

Next week, the city’s 43,000 poor households will again receive at least six kilograms of rice, canned food and other food items.

The funds for food aid came from the 29.1 million pesos previously approved to be released by the Sanggunian.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) also uploaded some 70 million pesos to the city government for the purchase of medical supplies, food aid and other materials and items needed to fight COVID. -19.

There is money but no suppliers

From the 70 million pesos, the city government intends to distribute cash – instead of food – to beneficiaries. The main reason is that the city government is struggling to find suppliers from inside and outside the city for food aid, as other local government units across Mindanao also buy the same items. for food aid.

“So instead of food items, the mayor said he wanted to donate money so that beneficiaries can buy whatever type of food they want to bring to their dining table,” Cabilen said.

But Cabilen said the proposal has yet to be approved by the DBM.

“The mayor is considering writing a letter to DBM asking that the city government be allowed to distribute money instead of food,” he said.

Cabilen revealed that the city government could no longer find a single supplier of rice to provide them with the stocks needed for their food rationing.

“Lumbayan Trading, one of the largest rice mills in the north of Cotabato, told us that it was struggling to provide us with the necessary sacks of rice. They are already running out of supplies, ”the lawyer said.

At least 20,000 bags of rice are needed to supply 43,000 families in the city.

Additionally, makers of canned goods like corned beef and hot dogs have told city officials they are running out of materials for their packaging. They don’t have enough cans and plastic to pack them.

“So what can we do? This is our biggest problem. We have the money, but only a few suppliers can provide us with what we need,” Cabilen said. (Malu Cadelina-Manar / MindaNews)

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