Gov't reverts to previous requirements for rice importation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 8) — The government has reverted to the previous terms of reference (ToR) for the importation of rice under a government-to-government procurement, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Thursday.

Piñol said he signed the revised terms on Wednesday. No copy was given to the media, but the Secretary relayed some of the tweaked aspects of ToR such as the reinstatement of Singapore a venue to settle disputes and changes in port delivery.

"I don't know who it was who modified the venue for the settling of disputes from Singapore to the Philippines when the original venue for the settling of dispute is actually in Singapore. So, we reinstated that. All the others na wala naman dati na nasama sa bagong ToR, we amended that," he said.

This comes after Thailand and Vietnam on Tuesday pulled out from joining the bidding to supply the country with 203,000 metric tons of rice, saying  they might not be able to comply with the ToR requirements in the ToR.

The ToR lists conditions for bidders, including reassignments of discharge ports, fumigation conditions and fines for short deliveries.

The NFA Council also adjusted the delivery deadline, which was initially set for December 15. Piñol said an adjustment was made after Vietnam raised concern it might not be able to complete delivery by that date.

"Isa lang issue ng Vietnam is that hindi nila kayang i-comply yung requirement na dapat dumating ng December 15. Ang sinasabi nila we could start delivering by December 15 but give us until the end of the year, December 31 to complete the delivery. Personally, I don't see any problem with that because meron tayo available stocks sa NFA," he said.

Piñol said the NFA will have a buffer stock enough for 134 days by December, as the country is expecting the arrival of 47,000 metric tons of rice procured in an open tender bidding last October.