MANILA – Smugglers, hoarders and price manipulators have no place in the “New Philippines” and must face the full force of the law.
Determined to put an end to the actual rice “weevils” that destroy the ecological balance of rice supply and demand, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. ordered all officials, authorities, and government agencies to strictly implement policies and laws to address rice issues.
In his speech during the distribution of rice at San Andres Sports Complex in Manila on Tuesday, President Marcos assured the administration will relentlessly run after hoarders and smugglers to ensure an affordable staple food for Filipinos.
“Ang bukbok na lubos na sumisira sa balanse ng supply at presyo ng bigas sa merkado [ay] ang hoarding at saka ang smuggling at price manipulation na ginagawa ng mapagsamantalang mga negosyante (Hoarding, smuggling and price manipulation of exploitative traders destroy the balance of supply and prices),” the President said.
“Sa Bagong Pilipinas, hindi na po ito puwede. Kaya inaatasan ko ang lahat ng mga opisyal, otoridad, at mga ahensya na higpitan nang husto ang pagpapatupad ng mga polisiya at batas hinggil sa isyu ng bigas (This will not happen in the the New Philippines so I ordered all officials and agencies concerned to strictly implement laws and policies regarding rice issues),” Marcos said.
He reiterated that the rice supply in the country is sufficient.
“Gaya ng sabi ko noong namahagi tayo ng bigas sa Camarines Sur noong isang araw po: Sapat ang supply ng bigas dito sa Pilipinas. Ang kailangan lamang po ay ang maayos na pamamahala ng produksyon at bentahan nito (As I’ve said during the rice distribution in Camarines Sur [on Saturday]: Rice supply in the Philippines is enough. We just have to properly manage production and selling),” Marcos said.
The President, also the concurrent Department of Agriculture secretary, acknowledged it will not be an easy task for the government as smugglers, hoarders and price manipulators have been operating for so long, but noted that the administration is determined to put an end to their illegal operations.
He challenged the Filipino people to join the government in the fight against the country’s problems, including agricultural issues.
“Ang hamon ko sa inyo, mga kapwa Pilipino: Magtulungan po tayo upang maisaayos ang ating agrikultura at maisakatuparan ang pangarap natin ng ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ – kung saan matatag, maginhawa at panatag ang buhay ng bawat Pilipino (My challenge to my fellow Filipinos: Let us help each other to fix the agricultural sector and achieve our dream for a New Philippines – strong, flourishing, peaceful lives for every Filipino),” President Marcos said.
Each Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiary in Manila received 25 kilograms of rice, which were part of the 42,180 sacks of smuggled rice seized by the Bureau of Customs from a warehouse in Barangay Baliwasan, Zamboanga City.
The confiscated sacks of rice were eventually donated to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The President assured the beneficiaries the seized rice underwent legal proceedings.
He earlier distributed rice to 4Ps beneficiaries in Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay; Iriga City, Camarines Sur; and City of General Trias, Cavite
“Bilang Pangulo at Kalihim ng Kagawaran ng Agrikultura, patuloy po tayong gumagawa ng mga konkretong solusyon upang matugunan ang mga problemang kinakaharap ng sektor ng agrikultura (As your President and Agriculture secretary, I continue to find concrete solutions to address the problems of the agricultural sector)” President Marcos said.
The President also highlighted the continuous operations of “Kadiwa ng Pangulo” stores that sell fresh produce at lower prices and the modernization of farming in the country. (PND/PNA)