AGRI Party-list Rep. Orestes T. Salon on Monday appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to order the donation of seized smuggled rice to the National Food Authority (NFA) and allow the agency to resell it at lower prices.
Salon also suggested a monitoring system to ensure that traders do not mix the resold smuggled rice with commercial rice.
This, in light of reports that operatives of Naval Task Force 61 of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao seized last Saturday off Zamboanga Sibugay a foreign cargo vessel loaded with 27,180 sacks or 1,359 metric tons of Vietnam rice. The smuggled rice is reported to have an estimated market value of P67,970,000.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said earlier Monday that Malacañang is mulling the possibility of the NFA reselling the seized rice at a lower price to increase the agency’s stockpile.
“Given that the NFA’s supply of cheap rice is at a dangerously low level, maybe the President can issue an executive order mandating that the NFA resell seized smuggled rice at lower prices,” said Salon.
Salon also said that while such a measure was merely a stop-gap, the poor who rely on subsidized rice would benefit from it.
Government should prioritize improving agricultural production and providing support to local farmers to address the smuggling of rice and other agricultural products over the long term, he added.
Salon also said that RA 10845 or the anti-agricultural smuggling law should be fully implemented.