Gov. Zubiri flip-flops, rescinds controversial order
CAGAYAN DE ORO—Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri had rescinded a controversial order he made on Friday morning, March 27, 2020, stopping all rice shipments from leaving the province.
Zubiri in his new Executive Order no. 18-A which he signed Friday afternoon, said he was assured that the demand for rice for Bukidnon would be met by local suppliers.
“I do hereby order the lifting of the implementation of Executive Order no. 18 and renders the same ineffective,” Zubiri said in the new order just hours after he banned all rice shipments from going out from Bukidnon.
On Friday morning, Zubiri issued Executive Order no. 18 prohibiting all rice producers, traders, and suppliers to engage in the sale, delivery, and release of rice grains outside of Bukidnon.
Bukidnon is a major rice producer in Northern Mindanao, contributing 69,546 metric tons of palay or 51 percent of the palay production in region 10 in 2017.
Zubiri listed several reasons why he decided to stop the flow of rice grains outside the province on Friday morning.
He said in the Executive Order no. 18, the Bukidnon provincial gov’t tried to purchase 100,000 bags of rice to feed the indigent families during the COVID-19 crises. Zubiri said the provincial government had already purchased 40,000 bags and had offered to buy 60,000 more at P1,850 per bag.
He said there were no takers from the Bukidnon traders and producers.
“Several rice suppliers and traders were selling their merchandise outside the province of Bukidnon, depleting the supply of the province,” Zubiri said.
The regional inter-agency COVID-19 Task Force, however, did not take lightly the succession of orders of Zubiri regarding the rice shipments.
National Economic Development Authority 10 Director Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño said they, including the Department of Interior and Local Government, are holding an emergency meeting to discuss Zubiri’s actions.
“This is the last thing that we wanted during the crisis. That each local government official will decide according to their emotions,” Carino said.
Cariño assured the residents of Northern Mindanao that stockpile of basic commodities could last up to 106 days. She said the interagency COVID-19 task force has already reported Zubiri’s actions to the national interagency in Malacañang.
DILG 10 Director Arnel Agabe cited the directive from DILG Secretary Eduardo Año who called for the unhampered supply of food supply during the crisis.
Agabe said this is the second time Zubiro’s order caught their attention. A week ago, Agabe said Zubiri also asked the two sugar manufacturers in Bukidnon, the Bukidnon Sugar Milling Corporation and Crystal Milling Corporation to stop their production to allow its workers to prepare for the emergency. /rcg
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