Purge Gov’t List of Rice Importers, Traders
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, revoking their licenses and permits to import rice will deal a serious blow to the rice cartels,” Ms. Marcos 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.