Albayalde: PNP committed to safeguarding food security, consumer rights
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde assured the public that the police consider the issue on food security as important as the administration’s war on illegal drugs.
“Our firm responsiveness to the national anti-drugs and anti-crime policy will be of the same degree with our commitment to national policy on food security and consumer protection,” Albayalde said in a press briefing on Monday at Camp Crame, Quezon City.
“We will aggressively support concerned government agencies in waging war against unscrupulous traders who willfully manipulate market forces for their own selfish gain that result in higher prices of basic and essential commodities, particularly rice and food products,” he added.
The PNP chief’s statement was in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directives heard during the State of the Nation Address on July 23.
He also said that the issue of rice and other food product smuggling goes beyond the issue of economics as it affects Filipino families.
“These acts go beyond economic issue of fair trade. This is a matter of food security that the state is duty-bound to protect and prevent,” Albayalde said.
“I am directing the concerned directorial staff, primarily the Directorate for Operations, to review all existing operational plans, directives, and issuances, including existing memoranda of agreement with the Department of Agriculture, the National Food Authority, to identify possible areas or rooms for improvement,” he added.
Albayalde vowed to strengthen PNP operations to prevent food shortage which affects poor Filipino families.
“We can strengthen law enforcement against rice smuggling, hoarding, pilferage, profiteering, and illegal trade practices,” he said.
“The Philippine National Police will work with all concerned agencies on how the government can address the economic woes suffered by the poor due to the unmitigated greed of rice cartels and smugglers,” he added.
In previous reports, opposition lawmakers have asked the government to direct law enforcement agencies’ efforts toward preventing rice smuggling, rather than focusing solely on the drug war and the alleged drive against bystanders.
“With this situation lurking, the government can proactively nip this in the bud by seeking the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation in the conduct of raids and inspection of rice warehouses,” Senator Kiko Pangilina said.
“Instead of going after the ‘tambays,’ the PNP would have better use for its force by guarding the Filipinos’ staple food to make sure that they are available in the market at prices affordable to ordinary Filipinos,” he added. /ee
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