Palace official suggests reselling of smuggled rice seized in Zamboanga, Sibugay

admin   •   April 17, 2018   •   3767

SMUGGLED RICE: Over 27, 000 sacks of Vietnam rice were seized by the Philippine Navy from a foreign cargo vessel in the waters of Zamboanga Sibugay on Saturday, April 14. (Photo Courtesy: Philippine Navy)

MANILA, Philippines — The National Food Authority is urged to resell the 27,180 sacks of smuggled rice seized from a foreign vessel off the waters of Zamboanga Sibugay last Saturday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque suggested that the NFA may offer the rice shipment to markets at a cheaper price.

“Kung hindi nga lang po bigas iyan, that should be up for destruction din. Pero dahil makakain naman ng taumbayan, ang sinabi sa akin ng Department of Agriculture ay pupuwede po iyang ibenta as NFA rice, iyong cheap rice para ma-increase iyong stockpile ng NFA.” the Palace official said.

(Had it not been rice, it should have been up for destruction also. But because it is suitable for public consumption, the Department of Agriculture has told me it can be sold as NFA rice, the cheap rice, to increase the NFA’s stockpile.)

The NFA is still awaiting the replenishment of its rice buffer stock of 250,000 imported rice which is set to arrive in May.

The seized shipment on board MV Diamond 8 is valued at P68 million pesos. — Marje Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

P2.4M worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in Zamboanga

Robie de Guzman   •   October 2, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Around 90 boxes of smuggled cigarettes estimated to be worth P2.4 million were seized in transit by the operatives of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Port of Zamboanga last Saturday (Sept. 28).

The BOC said the smuggled cigarettes were intercepted aboard MJ Champion, a wooden watercraft locally known as “Jungkung” from Jolo, Sulu, during a joint operation in the waters off Istanbak in Lower Calarian, Zamboanga City.

BOC-Zamboanga District Collector Atty. Segundo Barte Jr. said the operation was launched after they received information that an undetermined number of smuggled cigarettes will be transported and distributed in Magay and Sta. Cruz Public Markets in Zamboanga City.

The operation was carried out by the BOC with the elements of the Philippine Coast Guard, Task Force Aduana, Naval Intelligence and Security Group Western Mindanao and Naval Special Operations Unit.

“A Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) will be issued against the smuggled cigarettes for violation of Executive Order No. 245, the Amended Rules and Regulations Governing the Exportation and Importation of Leaf Tobacco and Tobacco Products, and Section 117 of Republic Act No. 10863, otherwise known as Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA),” the BOC said.

“A WSD will also be issued against the vessel, MJ Champion, for transporting the smuggled cigarettes which is a violation of Section 1113 of the CMTA,” it added.

Last September 18, around 30 cartons of assorted cigarettes estimated to be worth P900,000 were also seized at the Port of Zamboanga. The cartons were loaded into two hatch back type vehicles inside the pier area.

NFA to ‘flood’ markets with imported rice to lower price of commercial rice

UNTV News   •   September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is not satisfied with the current price of commercial rice in the market.

Based on reports, the lowest price of rice remains at P36/kg.

Thus, the National Food Authority Council has decided to release the remaining 3.6M bags of rice which the NFA previously imported.

The agency has one month to do it.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar believes that by doing so the price of commercial rice will drop to P32/kg.

“We would like to believe that by flooding the market with 3.6 million bags of imported rice will further have an impact in terms of lowering the prices in the market,” Dar said.

The DA is also coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in relation to the P600 monthly rice allowance being provided to the beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Dar proposed that instead of cash, the DSWD may provide the beneficiaries rice package from NFA’s procurement of local farmers’ yield.

The DA chief said this will help the farmers given the DSWD’s P28B budget next year for rice allowance.

Meanwhile, the NFA has increased the support price for dried palay to P19/kg from P17/kg.

The NFA removed, however, the incentives that the farmers receive for drying their harvest which amounts to P3.70/kg.

Despite this, Dar is confident that the farmers’ income will increase by P8,000 for each hectare of harvest. — MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Senators grill NFA officials over ‘rotten rice’ in warehouse

Marje Pelayo   •   August 29, 2019

Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chair Sen. Cynthia A. Villar asks Department of Agriculture (DA) officials led by DA Secretary William Dar where the P4 billion in funds that should have gone to programs for increasing the production of local farmers under the rice tariffication law went.  (Courtesy: Senate of the Philippines)

MANILA, Philippines – Senators expressed dismay over the National Food Authority (NFA) for not giving priority on buying local farmers yield.

During the hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food on Thursday (August 29), senators grilled the agency’s officials after receiving multiple reports from local farmers.

“Lahat ng tao sinisisi na kayo (The blame is on you),” Committee chair Senator Cynthia Villar said.

“Kapag pumupunta ako sa probinsya tinatanong ko: “Binilhan ba kayo ng NFA?” Sasabihin nila: “Hindi po kasi po mataas daw ang moisture content namin,” the senator said citing her conversation with farmers.

(Every time I went to the provinces, I would ask (the farmers): “Did NFA purchase your yield?” They would say: “No because of our palay’s high moisture content.)

Senator Imee Marcos, meanwhile, pressed the NFA to confirm the alleged millions of bags of rice being rotten inside one of the agency’s warehouses.

“Ipagtapat na natin ang totoo. Nine million bags pa ng imported rice ang nabubulok sa NFA na bodega kaya ayaw ninyong bumili ng local?,” the senator asked NFA Administrator Judy Dansal.

(Be honest. There are still nine million bags of imported rice now decaying in NFA warehouse, the reason why you do not procure from local farmers?)

Dansal confirmed Marcos’ claim though she corrected the figure to four million bags, not nine million.

Also present in the hearing are Senators Imee Marcos, Risa Hontiveros and Nancy Binay. (Courtesy: Senate of the Philippines)

The NFA officials asked the lawmakers to give them time to handle and resolve the matter in compliance with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte in line with the agency’s new mandate under the Rice Tariffication Act.

“Idedeklarang bulok tapos i-o-auction sa mga paboritong traders, huwag naman (They were declared spoiled then would you auction them to your favorite traders? That shouldn’t be done),” Marcos said.

“Hindi naman po. Sana bigyan niyo naman kami ng pagkakataon mayroon naman tayong new leadership. Hindi naman po tayo masama at di naman po kami nag bebenta ng bulok (Of course not. Please give us time to handle things under our new leadership. We are not bad people and we don’t sell rotten rice),” Dansal replied.

Meanwhile, Villar calls on concerned government agencies to expedite the distribution of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) so that local farmers will have a budget for purchasing farm equipment to improve their yield. – MNP (with details from Grace Casin)

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