Flour millers and other food manufacturers assured the public of stable supply of commodities amid the enhanced quarantine period in Luzon designed to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019.
“The Philippine Association of Flour Millers assures your office and the general public that the country has enough inventory of flour and that this commodity continues to be delivered to bakeries, food manufacturers, noodle makers, and flour dealers and retailers all over Luzon,” PAFMIL executive director Ricardo Pinca said in a letter to Rep. Wes Gatchalian, chairman of the House committee on trade and industry.
Gatchalian earlier launched an inquiry on the supply and availability of wheat flour during the quarantine period.
Pinca said while there were initial difficulties on product movement because of the long queues of delivery trucks at various checkpoints on the main roads leading to areas outside Metro Manila, the situation has eased up and deliveries have since been unhampered.
“PAFMIL thanks the Department of Trade and Industry and the Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases for ensuring that the policy stated by President Rodrigo Duterte on unhampered flow of food and medical and health products was implemented even at the local checkpoints manned by local government unit personnel,” said Pinca.
The Philippines has 22 flour mills scattered all over the country producing 83 million bags of flour annually. That translates into 6.9 million bags of flour monthly, with 70 percent of production representing hard flour which is used to produce pandesal, loaf bread and other bakery products and 30 percent of production going to the pastry, noodle and cake market.
“We import 95 percent of our raw material wheat from the United States while the balance 5 percent of our requirement is sourced from Canada, and Australia among others,” said Pinca.
PAFMIL member companies include RFM Corp., Wellington Flour Mills, Philippine Flour Mills, General Milling Corp., Liberty Flour Mills, Pilmico Foods Corp. and Universal Robinson Corp.
Another group of Flour Millers is the Philippine Chamber of Flour Millers which consist of San Miguel Mills, Philippine Foremost Flour Mills, Delta Milling Corporation and Morning Star Flour Mills.
The 11 other flour mills are not members of PAFMIL and CHAMPFLOUR.
“The local flour milling industry assures the country of enough supply of flour in the coming months and that our consumers will continue to enjoy their freshly baked pandesal, loaf bread , noodles and other bakery products throughout the quarantine period and beyond,” said Pinca.
Meanwhile, the Lopez Group said it donated P100 million to “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig” fund-raising campaign to provide food for Filipinos affected by enhanced community quarantine.
The campaign was launched on March 19 in partnership with local government officials in Metro Manila and private companies.
“We hope that no Filipino will suffer from hunger at this difficult time. As we have proven many times before, it is our love and concern for each other that will get us through any crisis,” said Carlo Katigbak, ABS-CBN president and chief executive.
Through the donations from the public, ABS-CBN will purchase food and other basic necessities that the Filipino families need. At least four companies have already pledged to allocate stocks for the relief packages.
These are Century Canning Corp., Suy Sing Commercial Corp., Republic Biscuit Corp., and the Lucio Tan Group.
The “Pantawid ng Pag-ibig” items will be turned over to the local government units in Metro Manila. All 17 Metro Manila mayors will then lead the preparation and distribution of relief packages for families in need.