By J. Jala, Helen Castano | 08:12 PM November 25, 2020
Tourism workers in Loboc town, who were affected of the pandemic, complained of receiving rice assistance infested with ‘bukbok’ or weevils from the provincial government of Bohol.
“The rice was smelly and all those who received it did not even cook it, ” said Loboc Mayor Leon Calipusan, who personally inspected the spoiled rice, said all the beneficiaries couldn’t stand the smell of it and they also refused to cook it.
Calipusan said 180 packs of rice, which contained 10 kilos, were left at the Loboc Tourism Building after tourism workers refused to claim them.
There are at least 1,076 workers in Loboc, known for its river cruise, affected by the Covid-19 pandemic who were the recepients of the assistance.
However, Maita Tecson, provincial social welfare and development officer, said that the rice packs were new and had no foul order as claimed by the tourism workers.
She said the rice packs were distributed last Oct. 16 in Loboc town.
“Maayo to condition pagbilin sa ila, paghatag sa ila,” she told reporters on Tuesday after a press conference at the Bohol Police Provincial Office.
Tecson declined to provide further information when pressed for questions.
Gov. Arthur Yap, on Tuesday, pointed out the long storage period of the rice subsidy by the municipal government as the reason why the quality of the rice was affected.
“Pahibalo: Ang bugas para sa tourism workers gideliver sa Loboc aron ipang apod-apod niadtong Oct. 16, 2020 pa. Maong dili ta matingala kung nadaut ug nabaho na ang bugas kung naa pa sa LGU hangtod karon,” said Yap.
Calipusan stood by their statement that there was no negligence on their part since the rice packs were kept in a safe place. He claimed some tourism workers had received the infected rice even during the distribution.
“Pastilan noh dakong bakak. Ilang sayup ilang ipahid namo. Kay muadto mo didto nakita man ninyo unsa nga building gibutangan sa bugas safe kaayo. Dili maulanan, dili mabasa, dili mainitan. Kung daot nga bugas daot na jud na nga bugas (It is a big lie. They blamed us for their mistake. When you go there you in the building that the rice very safe from rain and sun. If the rice is spoiled, it is spoiled),” Calipusan told reporters.
There were only 329 beneficiaries who claimed the packs and the remaining 747 packs were left to the LGU for distribution through the municipal social welfare and development office.
Calipusan added he was thankful for the help but he felt “insulted” by the allocation of “poor-quality” rice for his town.
“Unsa man ilang pagtoo intawon sa taga Loboc mga daotan na gyud mga tawo? Kanang mga empleyado sa munisipyo labina empleyado sa tourism unsa mana sila musukol sila sa gobernador, ilang daoton ang gobernador, dili jud ingana. Mao nay nakaapan sa provincial government ilang sayup dili nila angkunon. Ipahid nila sa gagmay nga mga tawo. Dili na maayo unsaon nato pag-asensyo ingana ang kinaiya sa atong mga leader?”
(What do they think of the people of Loboc? Are they saying that even those tourism workers made this up to malign the governor? They are not like that. That’s the problem with the provincial government officials, they don’t accept their mistakes and instead blame it to ordinary people. If we have such leaders, we won’t prosper), Calipusan retorted.
The local chief executive said if the Capitol has a plan to replace the infected rice, they should replace it immediately for the benefits of the affected workers.
The National Food Authority (NFA) in Bohol also clarified that the rice distributed was free of any weevils.
“We assured the public our rice is of good quality and condition,” NFA-Bohol manager Maria Fe Evasco.
She said they have proper warehouse management.