From Madelaine Miraflor
The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) – two government agencies now in hot water for various problems in the rice sector – added a reward money to the crackdown on those supplying the main staple of have potted the land. .
Agricultural secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that from this weekend, citizens who can provide information that would lead to the arrest of hamster champions will receive a reward of P250,000.
This is part of the campaign against hoarding that the DA and the NFA launched on Friday with the support of stakeholders in the rice industry.
Hameren, according to Piñol, effectively manipulates the price of commercial rice on the local market.
"The reward money is provided by private millers and traders who said that the activities of the hoarding are affecting their activities," Piñol said.
On Friday, the joint DA-NFA team for potting inspected at least five warehouses in Marilao, Bulacan. Stacks of premium white and glutinous rice were discovered in the warehouses.
"The NFA is expected to return to the area on Saturday to validate whether the owners of rice stocks were stuck to their supplies, and penalties for hoarding rice are fines and imprisonment," Piñol said.
At the moment, NFA and DA are being blamed for the rice shortage in Zamboanga, the contamination of 330,000 bags of imported rice with weevils and the continuous rise in rice prices across the country.
On Wednesday, the industry lobby group Samahang Industriya sa Agrikultura (SINAG) filed coupons against NFA manager Jason Aquino and NFA's accounting manager
Gerry Ambrosio for allegedly using P5.1 billion in subsidies to pay the agency's debt.
Composed of the main stakeholders in agriculture in agriculture, SINAG was one of the strong lobbying forces & # 39; who recalled House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo a couple of weeks ago at its zero import tariff proposal for meat and fish products.
Meanwhile, two importers who were awaiting smuggling charges were again beaten Friday with smuggling complaints because of the reported illegal large-scale imports of rice and sugar.
The Bureau of Customs has filed criminal charges against the officers of Red Star Rising Corporation and Sta. Rosa Farm Products Corporation for the Ministry of Justice for smuggling millions of sugar and rice.
Dante P. Lunar, Leonardo C. Mallari, Richel Paranete Llanes, August Presillas Templado and Bernie Abrina Rubia of Red Star Rising Corporation were beaten with three criminal charges – unlawful import of rice, economic sabotage and the introduction of 16 containers of white sugar in the country with a total value, including duties and taxes, of P21,558561.
The shipments were allegedly wrongly stated as packaging materials, kitchen utensils and kraft paper. The shipments arrived at the port of Manila on several dates in July, without an import permit from the Sugar Regulatory Administration.
Sta. Rosa Farm Products, on the other hand, faces two more criminal charges for similar violations. The indictment was filed against Sta. Rosa & # 39; s President Jomerito S. Soliman, Chief Financial Officer Dolores Opancia, Director Mary Grace D. Cayanan, Director Marileen S. Avañez, and Licensed Customs Broker, Diosdado M. Santiago.
Sta. Rosa Farm Products reportedly imported 50,000 bags of rice worth P120,707,596 without the required import license from the National Food Authority (NFA).
Earlier, smuggling complaints were filed against Sta Rosa Farm Products for the import of millions of Thai rice without import licenses and the smuggling of 45 sugar containers that were discovered at the port of Manila in early August.
Commissioner for customs affairs Isidro Lapeña stressed that large-scale smuggling of agricultural products is an economic sabotage.
"The consequent adverse effects of these illegal imports on local farmers and the consuming public justify its persecution in the broadest sense of the law, and for this reason the Bureau will continue its current efforts to eliminate the smuggling of these agricultural products. to find out who would be held liable for these illegal activities, "Lapena said. (With a report from Betheena Kae Unite)