The Department of Agriculture (DA) has received 400 metric tons of milled rice from the Republic of Korea–Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (ROK-MAFRA) recently.
The milled rice will be distributed to 10,000 families affected by flooding and landslides in Oriental Mindoro through the DA-National Food Authority (NFA) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban expressed his gratitude to the South Korean government for its prompt assistance, most especially to Misamis Oriental residents.
“The immediate provision of emergency food aid is critical at all stages of disaster response. This provision ensures food security the earliest time possible,” he said.
“We are not only accepting the goodwill of tested ally but also recommitting ourselves to our common objective for food security and the future,” Panganiban added.
South Korea is the Philippines’ sixth largest source of Official Development Assistance (ODA), with commitments through its Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
In a 2021 report, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) reported more than $925 million worth of ODA grant projects and loan programs from South Korea.
South Korea has also been donating rice as assistance in times of calamities, with its rice distribution in Misamis Oriental being the third time.
The rice donations were made possible under the third tier of the Asean Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) Program—a regional cooperation among Asean countries with the aim of strengthening food security, alleviating poverty, and eradicating malnourishment without distorting normal trade in the Asean+3 region.
The Philippines joined the APTERR in 2012 and has since then been a recipient of rice donations from fellow member-countries Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and South Korea.
“Our Philippine President [Ferdinand Marcos Jr.] as Secretary of Agriculture strongly emphasizes the importance of ensuring food security for all, especially for the most vulnerable calamity-affected communities in the country,” Panganiban said.
“I am positive that the APTERR will continue to be a catalyst for regional cooperation providing the necessary humanitarian aid to be able to realize its mandate,” he added.