Bongbong Marcos: No place for smuggled rice in local market
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga del Sur — Smuggled rice has no place in the local market, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., said in a speech Tuesday, Sept. 18, to 3,000 beneficiaries of the confiscated rice in this city.
Marcos distributed the rice under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the DSWD inside the warehouse of the National Food Authority at Barangay San Roque.
“Kailangang higpitan ang pagbantay sa mga illegal na imported smuggled na bigas… at sa kasama natin sa (Bureau of) Customs, wag papayag na may pumasok na smuggled na bigas, pag nahuli, imbestigahan,” Marcos said.
(We need to tighten the watch on illegal imported smuggled rice … and to our companions at the Bureau of Customs, let us not allow the entry of smuggled rice. When arrested, investigate.)
Engineer Arthur Sevilla, Jr., District Collector of the Bureau of Customs at the Port Zamboanga, said the smuggled 42,180 bags of rice with commercial value of P44 million, were seized in May this year in Barangay San Jose Gusu.
He said nothing is illegal in the distribution of seized smuggled rice to indigent families because “this is properly documented.”
“We obtained the deed of donation, with agreement between the Bureau of Customs and Department of Finance. We inspected the rice and passed quality control before its donation,” Sevilla explained.
Sevilla said their office donated all the 42,180 bags of rice to the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office and the DSWD borrowed the NFA warehouse to safekeep the seized smuggled rice.
Satulnina Aril, a purok leader of Sitio Hongkong in Barangay Rio Hondo, was excited to receive a sack of rice for her family.
“At this time when rice is very expensive, I left my work with 200-peso earnings to receive one sack of rice, said Aril in Filipino. Aril is a survivor of the 2013 siege and one of the 20,000 internally displaced persons in the city.
Jannah Jupakal, a mother of 5, ignored the crowd and heat of the sun, to secure her sack of rice.
“This is a big thing as we eat rice only once in a while these days, and now there is help of one sack of rice, not just three kilos each. We will budget this to last two weeks. A big savings in our food budget, Jupakal said in Filipino.
Ivan Salvador, Regional Information Officer of DSWD 9, said that of a total of 5,000 bags of rice distributed today, 3,000 were for Zamboanga City, 1,000 for Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay, and 1,000 for Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte.