Sinag to Senate:Probe rice importation

May 22, 2017 at 8:44 am Leave a comment


By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
ROSALES- The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) asked the Senate Committee on Agriculture chaired by Senator Cynthia A. Villar  to conduct inquiry on imported rice, the bulk of which are docked in various ports in the country since March this year.
Image result for smuggled rice in the philippines

Smuggled rice in Manila. Photo Credit: Philippine Star

In a letter to Villar dated May 8,  Sinag Chair Rosendo O. So So said no less than 130,000 metric tons or 2.6 million bags of imported rice are yet to be confiscated by the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
The BOC also has not charged the 38 consignees of smuggled /imported rice in the country who have no necessary import permits.
So said  with the prevailing price of Php 1,750  per bag, the unclaimed rice is valued at no less than P4.55 billion, and which could only be the tip of the “iceberg” of the recent squabble within the National Food Authority (NFA) Council.”
So also said the Sinag wanted to know if there are other shipments of other agricultural products without permits, that are inside the jurisdiction of BoC in different  ports of the country.

 He is also wondering  why the online service of the BoC that tracks down the arrival of imports on a monthly basis has been down for four months, just before the arrival of shipments carrying the imported rice without permits.
 Recall that in previous interview with So, 160,000 metric tons of rice for importation were not signed or approved by the NFA Administrator, but a total of 30,000 metric tons were able to penetrate the market leaving 130,000 metric tons docked in various ports in the country.
So said if the Senate finds out that the imported rice has no valid permits, a case of economic sabotage for violating Republic Act No. 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 will be lodged against the consignees or importers.
Meanwhile, So said the total rice import by private sector under the minimum access volume (MAV) that enter the country in 2016 up to March 31, 2017 totaled to 639,563 metric tons or 12,791,278 bags.
Minimum Access Volume (MAV) refers to the volume of a specific agricultural product that is allowed to be imported with a lower tariff as committed by the Philippines  to the World Trade Organization (WTO) under the Uruguay Round Final Act.
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Entry filed under: News.

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