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UNTV EXCLUSIVE: DA, NFA launch crackdown vs. rice hoarders; inspect warehouses in Bulacan

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Saturday, September 1st, 2018

 

BULACAN, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) launched the first joint operation against rice hoarding by raiding a row of warehouses in Marilao, Bulacan Friday night (August 31).

The operation, spearheaded by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and NFA Administrator Jason Aquino, discovered over 100,000 sacks of imported rice in one warehouse and about 50,000 sacks of rice in another.

According to Piñol, the owner of the rice storage incurred violations of NFA standards for warehouses.

“Here at Fedcor compound in Marilao, Bulacan it is apparent that three big warehouses, unmarked, would have an estimated 100,000 bags of rice, imported rice. This is already a violation because warehouses supervised by the NFA are supposed to have billboards announcing that these are NFA warehouses. The first warehouse that we opened contained rice about 50,000 bags,” he said during an operation exclusively covered by UNTV.

The Agriculture Secretary said the operation is part of the DA’s “Report a Hoarder” campaign, which he first announced earlier on Friday (August 31) which offers a cash reward of P250,000 for every report about hoarding activity that is verified and validated.

“We are expecting that we will be able to send the message across. This will be done nationwide. Now that DA and NFA have joined hands in implementing this campaign, we expect successes along the way,” he added.

Secretary Piñol said the campaign will be done nationwide in view of stabilizing the supply of rice in the market.

He warned traders and dealers to release their stocks and do away with hoarding as both agencies are determined to run after them.

“Better release your stocks now because the moment we inspect your warehouses and we see your stock, the government could confiscate your stocks and that could lead to a lot of penalties,” the Secretary warned. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo

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3 confirmed dead in Bulacan chopper crash

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

The ill-fated chopper half-submerged in a fish pond | Courtesy: PRO3

(UPDATE) Three men were killed when a helicopter crashed into a fishpond in Malolos, Bulacan on Thursday (April 25).

Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of Philippine Red Cross (PRC) confirmed this in a post on his Twitter account.

“Update: Death toll rose to 3 in a helicopter crash in Malolos, Bulacan. Other injured passengers were already transported by our @philredcross team to Bulacan Medical Center,” Gordon said.

Local police initially reported that two passengers died “in an accidental helicopter crash” in Barangay Anilao that happened at past 12 p.m.

Another victim was rushed to the nearest hospital due to injuries sustained after the crash. The victim was later declared dead by attending physician.

Police have yet to release the identities of the victims.

In a separate Twitter post, the PRC said the helicopter was carrying at least six passengers on board. A patient was transported by its ambulance to Bulacan Medical Center.

The helicopter, which bears the body number RP C8098, was described in the report as severely damaged or “total wreck.”

Responding teams are still investigating if there are other victims at the crash site.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the helicopter, bound for San Fernando, Pampanga, took off from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) General Aviation Hangar around 12:28 p.m.

The chopper was owned and operated by LGC Air Transport.

CAAP Director General Capt. Jim Sydiongco said an Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board has been dispatched to the crash site.– Robie de Guzman

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Piñol to be ‘very strict’ in managing P10B/y farmers’ fund under RCEF

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2019

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol

MANILA, Philippines – Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on Thursday (April 4) said he will make sure that the P10 billion per year Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) will be profitably expended up to the last centavo.

The DA is now awaiting the final draft of the Rice Tariffication Law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) to be able to begin improvements in farm mechanization, seed distribution and be able to provide agriculture financing programs for farmers as stated in the law.

As directed by President Rodrigo Duterte, Secretary Piñol will solely manage and oversee the disbursements of the RCEF.

With this huge responsibility, the secretary said he will ensure that the fund will be free of any irregularity.

“I will be solely accountable for the disbursement and utilization of the RCEF funds. And because of that, I will be very, very strict about it,” Piñol said.

Through the additional financial assistance, Piñol is confident that local farmers will have the chance to compete with the demands of the market and improve their yield while there is a reduction in production costs.

Meanwhile, the Secretary said they are still in the process of adjusting the separation pay of retiring employees and NFA staff who will be affected by the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law.

The concerned employees are appealing for similar benefits as their counterparts in the ARMM or the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) who will also be affected by the new law.

However, the final decision on the issue will still depend on the government’s economic managers.

“Kung talagang iyon ang desisyon ng economic managers then I will sign the IRR (If that is the decision of the economic managers, then I will sign the IRR),” he concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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Piñol defends Usec. Carpio amid drug allegations

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

(L-R) Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Waldo Carpio

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol shared his thoughts on the issue linking one of his officials to illegal drugs.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Waldo Carpio is being implicated in a controversy along with presidential son former Davao City Mayor Paulo Duterte.

Carpio is the brother of Atty. Mans Carpio, the husband of Paulo’s sister, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Piñol said he has no complaints against Usec. Carpio being the DA’s head for Special Concerns, the office managing the agency’s programs with international partners.

“Okay naman (ang performance niya),” the DA chief said.

Carpio was assigned as Assistant Secretary to the DA in September 2018 and was promoted to the position of undersecretary just two months later.

Piñol said he is not convinced by the claims of the whistleblower in a recent viral video linking Usec. Carpio to illegal drug trade.

“That’s pure canard. Maski si Pulong di ako maniwala dyan,” Piñol said.

The man in the video known as alias Bikoy alleged that Paulo Duterte is receiving drug money from illegal drugs operations in Southern Luzon and the Visayas region.

Allegedly, a monthly remittance of P30 million drug money had been transmitted to dummy accounts named under Usec. Carpio.

In an unconfirmed social media account named under Waldo Reyes Carpio, the Undersecretary was seen in photos of campaign sorties of then presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.

He is a nephew of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

President Duterte was among the principal sponsors in Usec. Carpio’s wedding.

The UNTV News Team has sought for Carpio’s comment but the undersecretary is currently on an official trip abroad.

He is expected to return to the country next week. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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