Is PD 1211, which regulates rice-milling, still in force?

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“Whereas, brown rice and regular milled rice contain higher quantities of nutrients like protein, vitamins and minerals needed by the human body;

“WHEREAS, consistent with the nutrition program of the government it is imperative to regulate the milling of rice;

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby decree and order and make as part of the law of the land, the following:

“Section 1. The milling of over-milled rice (rice with all the bran removed) is hereby prohibited. All rice mill owners/operators are required to mill a minimum of 10% of all palay owned and/or received by them for milling into brown rice (rice with only the hull removed) and the balance into regular milled rice only.”

So goes a portion of Presidential Decree 1211 signed on Oct. 12, 1977, by President Marcos. Why is the National Food Authority milling its meager palay stocks into well-milled rice in flagrant violation of PD 1211, ostensibly to mix the well-milled rice with the very expensive iron-coated rice premix? Are the technical people at the top of NFA management that naïve they would not know the loss of iodine and other nutrients when rice is polished to achieve a well-milled rice-milling degree, but which at the same time lessens its milling recovery by 1-2 percent? Assuming that NFA can procure 6 percent of the 2012 palay production target (that would be a first in history and would roughly be around 22 million bags of palay), the increase in milling recovery from well-milled to regular-milled would be around 400,000 bags of rice at 50 kilograms or the equivalent peso value of half a billion.

Furthermore, if only we implemented PD 1211, there would be no need to mix well-milled rice with the very expensive iron-coated rice premix and so save government, particularly the NFA, not only millions but billions of pesos of unnecessary expenses.

—JOSE TAGANAHAN,

joe_taganahan@yahoo.com

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