Release of 'smuggled' rice will disrupt local prices - farmer's groups


GMA News Online

Dec. 19, 2013




Farmers' groups are opposing the release of rice confiscated at the Port of Davao, saying doing so will hurt local farmers and undermine efforts against smuggling.


Davao City Trial Court Branch 16 has stopped the Bureau of Customs from seizing rice brought in by Starcraft International Trading Corp.


"The release of this smuggled rice will only jeopardize the reforms in the Bureau of Customs to crash smuggling. It will hurt local rice farmers who are resolved to intensify domestic rice production while the government institutes incentives and support to increase their income," Alyansa Agrikultura and Rice Watch and Action Network (R1) said in a statement.


The groups also said they disagreed "strongly" with the court's decision because the release of the rice will affect local prices.


The rice, consigned to a certain Joseph Ngo was seized upon the request of the National Food Authority, which asked the Customs bureau in October to confiscate 243,000 50-kilogram bags of rice brought into Davao without permits.


Aside from Starcraft, which allegedly borught in 28,000 bags, the NFA cited Bold Bidder Marketing & General Merchandise (25,000 bags), Jade Bros. Farms & Livestock Inc. (77,000 bags), Medaglia de Oro Trading (45,000 bags), and Silent Royalty Marketing (68,000) for allegedly smuggling in rice.


The NFA recommended charges against the traders as well as Customs personnel who released the rice despite lacking permits.



"The illegal shipments were monitored by NFA in coordination with the Philippine Ports Authority, the Philippine National Police, and the BOC in Davao," NFA said in October. — JDS, GMA News


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