Marcos orders more raids of rice warehouses
President Marcos on Tuesday ordered government agencies to exhaust all legal tools to control the rising prices of rice as he directed the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to inspect more rice warehouses, according to Malacañang.
Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio told a Palace briefing on Tuesday that the BOC would validate all warehouses storing imported rice upon the order of the President.
“And then upon validation, we will then issue again, I will then issue letters of authority to conduct inspection on these warehouses and to validate whether these imported articles or imported rice that are stored in these warehouses are paid with correct duties and taxes,” Rubio said.
“If we find people to be involved in the release of illegally or smuggled rice, then we will file cases against them,” he added.
The President gave the order to the BOC during a sectoral meeting in Malacañang.
Last week, Customs personnel, together with some lawmakers, found at least 227,000 sacks of rice inside the Great Harvest Rice Mill, San Pedro and FS Rice Mill warehouses in Balagtas town in Bulacan province.
Rubio said the sacks of rice were imported from Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
The warehouses, he said, were sealed temporarily to secure the imported sacks of rice found pending the completion of the inventory by Customs examiners.
According to him, the warehouses were being guarded by personnel from the BOC and the Philippine Coast Guard.
The owners and operators of the warehouses were given 15 days to submit proof of payment of duties and taxes.
In a statement, Malacañang said the President also expressed concern over the unabated increase in prices.
“The chief executive directs all concerned agencies to utilize the available legal tools in controlling the price of rice and make this affordable especially to poor households, as well as ensure other support mechanisms for farmers and traders alike should legal measures be invoked by the government in controlling the price of rice,” the Palace said. INQ