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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Speaker supports distribution of confiscated rice, urges Customs to file charges vs smugglers
20 September 2023 09:00:13 AM

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Wednesday urged the Bureau of
Customs (BoC) to file charges against rice smugglers, including those
behind the illegal entry of the staple through ports in Mindanao.

The leader of the 311-strong House of Representatives made the appeal
as he supported the decision of President Ferdinand “Bongbong”
Romualdez Marcos Jr. to distribute confiscated smuggled rice to
thousands of residents of the Zamboanga peninsula.

The President, accompanied by officials, made the distribution on Tuesday.

“We, in the House of Representatives, firmly stand with President
Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in his initiative to distribute premium
quality rice to the 4Ps beneficiaries in Zamboanga City with his
instruction to the National Food Authority to increase its buying
price for palay,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“This significant gesture demonstrates more than just an act of
generosity; it underscores the administration's commitment to
addressing the needs of our people, especially during challenging
times,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“I congratulate the Bureau of Customs and other concerned agencies for
a job well done. But they should not stop at confiscating rice and
other products smuggled into the country. These offices should file
charges against the smugglers immediately,” he said.

He said unless the culprits are jailed or otherwise punished, they
would continue doing their illegal activities, even if some of their
smuggled products end up being seized.

“Furthermore, this initiative solidifies our collective stance against
the activities of hoarders, smugglers, and those who unscrupulously
manipulate the prices of rice and other essential commodities,” he

As Representatives of the people, Speaker Romualdez said it is the congressmen's
duty to ensure that every Filipino family has unhampered access to
affordable and quality basic goods.

“Our mission goes beyond legislation; it encompasses the very essence
of public service — to safeguard and enhance the lives of our
constituents. We are fully committed to working closely with the
Executive branch and other relevant agencies in fortifying measures
against these illicit activities,” he said.

“By doing so, we aim to protect our nation's food security, stabilize
our economy, and ensure that the fruits of our nation's growth are
felt by every Filipino. Together, with unity of purpose and a clear
vision for the future, we will strive to build a nation where
prosperity is shared and where every Filipino is given the opportunity
to thrive,” Speaker Romualdez said.

According to Port of Zamboanga District Collector Arthur Sevilla, the
rice distributed by the President to the poor was part of the illegal
shipment in May this year.

He said 42,180 bags valued at P44 million were seized. He said the
confiscation, donation, and distribution of the staple were properly
documented. (END)