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News Briefs: Sept. 25, 2018

/ 05:30 AM September 25, 2018

NFA Council OKs importation of extra 500,000 tons of rice

The government will import 500,000 metric tons of rice in addition to the recently approved purchase of 250,000 tons—all to arrive within this year — as part of efforts to end a shortage of low-priced grains, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has announced.

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Piñol, who also now chairs the National Food Authority (NFA) Council, the agency’s governing body, said the additional importation was discussed during a council meeting on Monday.

The council approved the importation of 250,000 tons of rice three weeks ago, before the NFA was brought back under the supervision of the Department of Agriculture.

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The latest announcement means that the NFA will be importing a total of 1.25 million tons this year.

The agency imported 250,000 tons in May and another 250,000 tons in June.

Piñol said the additional 750,000 would be “25-percent broken,” the market jargon for regular-milled rice that the NFA sells at P27 per kilo.

The last time the NFA imported well-milled “15-percent broken rice,” which sells at P32 per kilo, was in May at 50,000 tons. —Ronnel W. Domingo

Hostile witness? See you in court, Duterte son tells Trillanes

DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte’s son Paolo Duterte on Monday dared Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to prove in court his claim that the resigned Davao City vice mayor was involved in drug smuggling.

“Dakdak na naman (All talk again). See you in court,” the young Duterte said in reply to the senator’s plan to call him as a hostile witness in the Senate’s drug smuggling probe.

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Trillanes said on Sunday he also planned to compel Duterte to open his bank accounts and show his dragon tattoo.

On Sept. 19, Duterte sued Trillanes, one of his father’s staunchest critics, for libel for linking him to the smuggling of P6.4 billion worth of “shabu” (crystal meth) from China that slipped through the Bureau of Customs in May last year.

Duterte vehemently denied the allegation.

“Evidently, [the allegation] was intended to malign, destroy and kill my good name and reputation … This is especially so as I am the eldest son of our sitting President,” Duterte said. —Mart Sambalud

Diesel, gasoline prices up for seventh straight week

Oil prices will rise on Tuesday for the seventh week in a row amid dwindling exports from Iran and Venezuela and as demand in the United States reached an 11-year high.

Local companies will the price of diesel by 20 centavos and gasoline by 40 centavos per liter starting 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

The price increases were announced by Shell, Seaoil, PTT, Flying V, Total and Phoenix.

Shell, Seaoil and Flying V will also raise the price of kerosene by 15 centavos per liter.

Based on monitoring by the Department of Energy, the latest round of price changes brought the price of diesel in Metro Manila to within the range of P44.30 to P49.04 a liter.

A liter of gasoline with an octane rating of 95 is now in the range of P52.05 to P62.27, while a liter kerosene is now at P48.72 to P58.85.

The price per liter of diesel has gone up by P12.15 and that of gasoline by P12.37 this year. —Ronnel W. Domingo

Evardone opposes proposal to restrict House media coverage

A lawmaker is opposing a move by his colleague in the House of Representatives to adopt guidelines that may restrict media coverage in the 292-member legislative body.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, chair of the House public information committee, on Monday said Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed his committee to scrutinize the resolution filed by Antipolo City Rep. Chiqui Roa-Puno seeking to impose stricter rules on reporters covering the chamber.

He said Arroyo also wanted inputs from various stakeholders, including journalists.

Evardone, a former reporter who covered Congress during the Ramos administration, said he had reservations about the draft guidelines and the resolution brought by Puno, herself a former sports journalist.

“My assurance to you is that we will not allow a diminution of your access in your efforts to [pursue] news items,” Evardone said. —Marlon Ramos

Immigration to deport 8 Chinese shop vendors

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is set to deport eight Chinese nationals who were caught illegally working in the country.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the foreigners were rounded up over the weekend while selling goods at 168 Shopping Mall in Binondo, Manila.

Morente said the country’s Immigration Act prohibited foreign nationals from working without work permit.

“The presence of these illegal foreign vendors robs our small Filipino businessmen of livelihood opportunities,” he said.

Acting BI intelligence chief Fortunato Manahan Jr. claimed that some of the foreigners had tried to bribe the arresting officers to release them. —Tina G. Santos

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TAGS: Antonio Trillanes IV, Emmnuel Piñol, Fuel Prices, news briefs, NFA Council, Paolo Duterte, Rice Imports, rice shortage, Rice Supply
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