In a move to combat hoarding and illegal importation of rice in the country, President Bongbong Marcos has issued a directive ordering the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to intensify its ongoing inspections and raids of rice warehouses.
Under Executive Order No. 39, which establishes a nationwide price cap for white rice, the BOC has been instructed to expedite the confiscation, seizure, or forfeiture of smuggled rice, as may be warranted law.
The EO, signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on behalf of President Marcos, also mandates that the Department of Agriculture (DA) extend its full support to the BOC in this endeavor.
To facilitate a more effective crackdown on rice hoarding and illegal imports, the DA will collaborate closely with the BOC by providing essential assistance, which include the sharing of vital information such as the inventory of rice stocks, a list of accredited rice importers, and the locations of rice warehouses.
Last August 30, the BOC reported that it uncovered an estimated P519 million worth of rice grains and palay (unhusked rice) in various warehouses across Bulacan province.
Following an examination of four warehouses situated in Wakas, Bocaue, and San Juan, Balagtas, within Bulacan, the BOC revealed the presence of 154,000 sacks containing imported rice grains and an additional 60,000 sacks filled with palay.
The 154,000 sacks containing imported rice grains originated from Vietnam and Pakistan, collectively holding a calculated value of P431 million.
Alongside these, the 60,000 sacks of palay hold an assessed value of P88 million.
Meanwhile, the BOC separately discovered P505 million worth of suspected smuggled imported rice in various warehouses also in Bulacan province last August 24.
The warehouses located in the Intercity Industrial Complex in San Juan, Balagtas, Bulacan were found to contain about 202,000 sacks of imported rice grains from Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.