Purge Gov’t list of rice im­porters, traders

Palawan Daily News - - Region -

Full dis­clo­sure, trans­parency key to dis­man­tling rice car­tel, says Imee

Re­place­ment of im­port quo­tas with tar­iffs would not dis­man­tle the rice car­tels in the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to Ilo­cos Norte Gover­nor Imee R. Mar­cos. “The gov­ern­ment ros­ters of rice im­porters and traders must be purged of smug­glers, eco­nomic sabo­teurs, hoard­ers, and tax evaders.”

Gov. Mar­cos, who is run­ning for sen­a­tor in next year’s midterm elec­tions, said it would “still be busi­ness as usual” for the rice car­tel be­cause they con­trol the un­der­ly­ing sys­tem and in­ter­nal ar­chi­tec­ture of rice im­por­ta­tion and distri­bu­tion. “Their con­trol of that sys­tem is not ad­dressed by any of the bills on rice tar­if­fi­ca­tion,” she said.

“Re­vok­ing their li­censes and per­mits to im­port rice will deal a se­ri­ous blow to the rice car­tels,” Ms. Mar­cos said.

She added that the rice car­tel mem­bers are able to op­er­ate with im­punity be­cause their iden­ti­ties are hid­den from pub­lic view—locked in draw­ers, file cab­i­nets, com­put­ers and brains of sev­eral gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and em­ploy­ees,” Gov. Mar­cos said.

She lamented that the lists or reg­istries of li­censed or ac­cred­ited rice im­porters and traders are not front page ma­te­rial on the web­sites of the NFA, the Bu­reau of Plant In­dus­try, Bu­reau of Cus­toms, DTI, and BIR—the five agen­cies which are sup­posed to have those lists and sup­port­ing doc­u­ments.

“We are al­ready in the 21st Cen­tury. It is time to bring those names out of the shad­ows through trans­par­ent and ver­i­fi­able full dis­clo­sure on the web­site of the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture of the names, ex­ec­u­tives, and con­tact num­bers and elec­tronic records of all trans­ac­tion de­tails of all rice im­porters and traders, as well as their freight for­warders and ware­houses,” the Ilo­cos Norte gover­nor said.

She called for a rig­or­ous vet­ting process, with the cru­cial in­volve­ment of civil so­ci­ety watch­dog or­ga­ni­za­tions, that will purge of the lists of rice im­porters and traders.

The Ilo­cos Norte gover­nor called for a de­tailed audit and foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tion of all the pro­cesses and doc­u­ments in the rice im­por­ta­tion cy­cle.

Ms. Mar­cos said one rare time the Depart­ment of Fi­nance re­vealed the names of the com­pa­nies, co­op­er­a­tives, and other en­ti­ties that im­port rice was way back in 2013. (P.R)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.