Villar fumes at DA exec for allowing rice imports during harvest season | Inquirer News
Close  

Villar fumes at DA exec for allowing rice imports during harvest season

'Huwag kang ganyan'
/ 12:04 PM October 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Cynthia Villar on Thursday berated the head of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) for allowing the issuance of permits for importation of rice during harvest season.

ADVERTISEMENT

During a Senate agriculture committee hearing, BPI director George Culaste got an earful from Villar after he said that he could not stop the issuance of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearances (SPIC) even during harvest season in March and September.

“During the harvest season—March and September—we manage the issuance SPIC for rice imports,” Culaste said. “We control it because we cannot really stop the issuance.”

FEATURED STORIES

This piqued Villar, who pointed out that the BPI can refuse to issue import permits during “certain times of the year.”

“That’s your power and if you cannot exercise that power you don’t deserve to head the BPI… You can stop the issuance. Who will question you if you will stop the issuance?” the senator said.

“Negosyante ako. Walang negosyante ang nagkukwestyon sa gobyerno pag hindi sila nagi-issue. Wag mo sabihin sakin yan. ‘Di ka madedemanda diyan. Napakatanga nung trader para idemanda ka dahil hindi ka ng-issue ng import pemit. Walang gagawa nang ganon,” she added.

Villar said that by allowing rice importation during harvest season, small farmers would have to compete with these traders.

“Nasa mind mo dapat tutulungan mo yung small rice farmers na mahihirap sa Pilipinas. May rice lang sila pag may harvest season, bakit mo pa sasabayan sa importation?” she said.

“Tamain mo yang strategy mo, huwag kang ganyan,” she added.

‘Parang nang-iinis’

During the hearing, senators also learned that the BPI’s latest issuance of SPIC was last August 26, which has a  validity of 60 days.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Yung 60 days po swak na swak sa harvest season, para namang nangiinis ka… Kung valid yan ng 60 days, hindi ba yung mass ship-out niyan kasagsagan ng ani?” Senator Imee Marcos pointed out.

“E hindi ba pinaguusapan na natin dati na no giving of SPIC within 90 days before harvest and 60 days harvest para man lang bibigyan na 90 days na window ang local. E bakit yung strategy mo ibang-iba naman?” she added.

Culaste tried to explain this by saying that the BPI met with stakeholders “when the peak of the harvest is coming.”

But an exasperated Villar interjected: “You don’t have to call a meeting, just don’t issue an import permit! Don’t call a meeting…Sila (importers) ba nagsusweldo sayo?! O gobyerno ang nagsusweldo sayo?!”

Villar then asked Culaste about his former profession before becoming BPI director.

Culaste said he previously served as a barangay captain and was eventually appointed as an assistant director in one of the Department of Agriculture’s regional offices.

“Dati kang barangay captain, di mo ba nafifeel yung kahirapan ng mga rice farmer na mga farmer sa lugar mo nung ikaw ay barangay captain,” Villar said. “Ba’t mo ngayon pinapahirapan sila? ‘Di ba tayo pag naging public officials tayo sa lugar natin, alam natin yung kahirapan ng ating mga kababayan, especially the farmers.”

“The worst you can ever do to them is to approve the importation of rice during their harvest season,” she further said.

EDV

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: BPI, import permits, Nation, News, rice importation, Senator Cynthia Villar
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.