THE National Food Authority (NFA) on Wednesday seized P15 million worth of illegally imported rice in a warehouse in Valenzuela City, the agency said in a statement.
NFA Administrator Renan Dalisay, with other NFA officials, confiscated approximately 5,000 bags, or close to 250,000 kilograms of rice stored in a warehouse owned by a certain Alvin Tiu Chua, the statement said. The confiscation is “a part of a continuing effort to ensure food security in the country,” by the NFA, which is currently under the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security, Dalisay said.
Agricultural Modernization headed by Secretary Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan was quoted as saying that “the trader and warehouse owner will face sanctions, as the warehouse is not licensed with the NFA. Rice is a regulated commodity, and so also requires a license to be imported.”
“If smuggling is rampant, then prices of rice and palay will fall, harming local farmers,” Pangilinan added.
Initial information from the National Bureau of Investigation said that the rice was imported from Thailand, then brought in through Zamboanga before being taken to Manila, Dalisay noted.
“Our information is that January pa labas-pasok ang mga sasakyan dito. Na-monitor, and finally nagpunta na tayo dito,” the NFA said, adding that the bags lacked proper markings and the sacks were labeled regular or well milled rice, but contained glutinous fancy rice instead.
Dalisay also said that the agency will continue its efforts to curb smuggling in the country.
“Also because of the new management, the NFA is monitoring hard the importation of rice, to encourage those participating to be compliant every step of the way,” the official also said, adding that the NFA, under orders from Pangilinan, will continue its monitoring and inspection on the arrivals and supply of imported rice.