Gov’t should ‘walk the talk’ in fight vs. rice smugglers, cartels — Nancy Binay
Senator Nancy Binay challenged the government to “walk the talk” in its fight against rice smugglers and cartels.
“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,” Binay said in a statement on Wednesday.
Binay was reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to use police power to break open smugglers’ warehouses and seize hoarded rice.
During his third State of the Nation Address last July, Duterte asked all rice hoarders, cartels, and their protectors to “stop messing with the people.”
The senator, however, lamented that despite repeated warnings against large-scale smuggling activities, no crackdown on warehouses of alleged rice hoarders and smugglers has been made for years.
“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,” Binay said in a statement Wednesday.
Binay said while she welcomes the warning, she hopes the government was 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 said.
The senator also rued law enforcement agencies’ failure to make any major arrest despite having intelligence reports.
“The DOJ (Department of Justice), the DOF (Department of Finance) and Malacanang are provided with intel reports of the operations and identities of rice hoarders, cartels, and their protectors, but sadly, since the 1970s until today, not one president was able to stop rice smuggling,” she noted. /vvp
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