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Consumers group eyes complaint vs NFA execs over use of private ports

/ 08:55 PM October 01, 2015

A consumers group is mulling the filing of complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against officials of the National Food Authority (NFA) for using a private port facility as a transshipment point for rice.

“We are not convinced with the explanation of the NFA. It is illegal under the law to use a private facility as a transit hub. We are thinking of bringing the case to the Ombudsman. What NFA is doing is economic sabotage,” Bency Ellorin, spokesperson for the National Coalition of Filipino Consumers (NCFC) said in a statement Thursday.

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Ellorin said ICTSI and South Harbor Center are the only ports allowed by the government as transshipment hubs for rice shipments.

However, Ellorin said NFA has allowed Harbour Center Port Terminal Incorporated (HCPTI) to become a rice transshipment point.

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The group also reiterated their calls to Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, to probe the allegation.

“Senator Villar should ensure that our consumers are protected. For the longest time, we have been receiving information that HCPTI has been keeping tons of NFA rice without accreditation from the NFA,” Ellorin said.

Ellorin said they will also seek audience with Villar to push for stricter legislation on hoarding and port smuggling.

NCFC said they have received reports of warehouses storing rice without a permit from NFA in Marilao town in Bulacan province and Muntinlupa.

“We have to ensure that Filipinos have enough food to eat. We want to arrest the syndicate manipulating prices in the market,” the group said.

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TAGS: consumer groups, Consumer issues, National Food Authority (NFA), Ombudsman, rice
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