Press Release
August 8, 2018

Warning vs rice hoarders, smugglers welcome, but...

Sen. Nancy Binay today welcomed Malacanang's stern warning against rice hoarders but expressed frustration that for years not one smuggler has been charged, arrested or jailed.

According to Binay, despite the repeated warnings to those behind large-scale smuggling activities, no crackdown on warehouses of alleged rice hoarders and smugglers has been made.

"It's one giant step that the President will use the entire power of the State to go after rice smugglers and hoarders. It's good na natututukan ang problema sa bigas, pero ang nakalulungkot wala pa ring nakukulong o nakakasuhan hanggang sa ngayon," the senator said.

Binay expressed frustration that despite the numerous congressional probes and warnings, rice cartels continue to freely operate.

"I hope the government is serious in going after those behind large-scale rice smuggling activities. Ang usual na ginagawa kasi ay wawarningan ang mga smugglers at hoarders. The funny thing is, we're giving smugglers and hoarders a lead time to clean up their tracks. Sana, sampolan na agad--wala ng warning warning. Implement the full force of the law," she pointed out.

Law enforcement agencies have not made any major crackdown or arrest in spite of the intelligence reports.

"The DOJ, the DOF and Malacanang are provided with intel reports of the operations and identities of rice hoarders, cartels and their protectors, but sadly, since the 70s until today, not one president was able to stop rice smuggling," she noted.

The law calls for non-bailable charge of economic sabotage for illegal shipment of at least P1 million of rice or other staples.

Binay said she hopes the President orders intelligence agencies to unmask those engaging in economic sabotage, including firms and individuals who are guilty of committing acts inimical to the interests of the public.

"It's about time to walk the talk. These rice smugglers and cartels have cost the government billions in revenue, created artificial rice shortage, caused prices to shoot up, and threatened the livelihood of local farmers," the senator added.

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