A copy of the demand letter issued by the NFA central office ordered Badian NFA officer Benedicto Bernal to pay P10,628,095.09 within 15 working days or else face administrative and criminal charges.
The report came amid assurances from the NFA Central Visayas office that the region’s rice stocks is sufficient for five months.
The demand letter was sent by the NFA office to Bernal last Oct. 15 along with a letter issued by NFA Regional Director Efren Sabong dated last Oct. 10 which listed the shortage of rice stocks under Bernal’s watch.
Bernal handled P17.5 million worth of imported rice and P3,457.76 million worth of imported iron-fortified rice from March 16, 2007 to June 1, 2012.
The NFA central office’s physical inventory showed a shortage of 194,452.420 kilograms of imported rice and 108,394.878 kilograms of imported iron-fortified rice for that period.
Bernal was told to replace the deficit along with the 1,027 empty sacks identified particularly as PRM-G50 worth P7,240.35 bringing it to a total P10,628, 095.09.
In a general memorandum order issued by the NFA on Jan. 2010, shortages in stock accountabilities are established after examination by the management or the Commission on Audit.
For shortages that amount to P500,000 and below, the NFA provincial manager will demand a refund to the shortage within 15 days upon receipt of the demand letter to the accountable officer.
If the officer fails to account for the shortage, the NFA provincial manager will file administrative charges without prejudice to filing of criminal case.
The same thing happens to those officers who fail to account for stocks amounting to P1 million.
If the shortage is more than P1 million, the accountable officer will have to pay the whole amount and a criminal and administrative case will still be filed against the person even if, he/she has already paid the amount.
The National Food Authority in Central Visayas is still silent on the reports.
NFA-7 information officer Lucy Rosales said Bernal received the letter last Monday which gives him until the first week of December to cover the shortage.
The NFA-7 office has 16 warehouses in all four provinces as of 2008.
Cebu has eight warehouses in Banilad, Bogo City, Tudela in Camotes Island, Badian and Santa Fe in Bantayan Island.
They also have two warehouses in the North Reclamation Area in Cebu City and another warehouse in barangay Mambaling.
The Badian warehouse can house 21,000 bags of rice.
Rosales said there is no shortage of rice in Central Visayas since their last inventory showed that they still have 800,000 bags of rice in their warehouses that’s good for five months.
The bulk of the region’s rice supply comes from Bohol and Canlaon City of Negros Oriental. /Carine M. Asutilla, Correspondent