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Farmers: Duterte can’t even stop rice smuggling in Davao

Davao City Mayor and Presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Davao City Mayor and Presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

GETTING rid of crime within six months is but another impotent threat from presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, who cannot even stop smuggling in Davao City, according to a group of farm advocates.

The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) on Tuesday said they don’t expect Duterte to make good on his promises, especially on solving crimes like smuggling since the mayor’s chief political strategist Lito Banayo is himself implicated in the illegal traffic of rice.

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“And to think that rice smuggling is supposedly one of Duterte’s pet peeves,” Sinag president Rosendo So said in an interview.

So noted that based on a 43-page committee report of the Senate in the 15th Congress, charges of graft and corruption have been recommended against Banayo,  a former administrator of the National Food Authority (NFA), as early as February 2013.

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“According to the Senate inquiry, a big-time rice cartel was able to operate in the country under Banayo’s nose by using farmers’ cooperatives as willing dummies to bankroll its rice smuggling operations,” the Sinag president said.

“This of course begs the question, why did ‘The Punisher’ tap Banayo—much less have a hand in running his campaign—if he’s serious about eliminating all criminals in a three-to-six month window?” he added.

So said the tough-talking Duterte also made a threat against alleged rice smuggling bigwig Davidson Bangayan, alias David Tan, if ever he sets foot in Davao City.

“Incidentally, Bangayan was the center of the Senate probe that also involved Banayo,” he said, adding that Sinag informants tell of Bangayan becoming a frequent visitor to Davao City lately.

“This is contrary to Duterte’s earlier warning to Bangayan not to dare enter the city,” said So. “Duterte even said that he would have no problem killing Bangayan if he ever sets foot on his beloved Davao.”

The Sinag leader said Bangayan was the main beneficiary of the import permits the NFA granted during Banayo’s term as administrator.

Sinag gathers under its banner some 33 organizations of farmers, agri-business operators and party-list groups.

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TAGS: Farmers, Nation, news, rice smuggling, Rodrigo Duterte
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