A PHILIPPINE senator on Monday filed a resolution seeking to investigate the National Food Authority’s (NFA) “highly suspicious” sale of 75,000 bags of rice worth P93.75 million to traders at lower prices.

“The Philippines is now the world’s largest rice importer, and the dire market situation today will only worsen in the coming months,” Senator Maria Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos, who filed Senate Resolution 940, said in a statement on Monday.

She said NFA officials had allowed the sale of aging rice stocks by as low as 10% lower than the standard price of P22.50 to P25 a kilo. NFA officials had allegedly bypassed the bidding process.

Last week, Agriculture Secretary Francis P. Tiu Laurel, Jr. ordered agriculture officials to look into the alleged unauthorized sale of thousands of tons of rice to traders.

The Philippines is expected to remain the world’s top importer of rice, with shipments projected at 3.9 million metric tons this year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. — John Victor D. Ordoñez