Manila: Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol said the government may be compelled to allow the entry of illegally imported rice in the Tawi-Tawi and Sulu to prevent a shortage of the cereal in the area.
According to Pinol, the success of the government efforts to stem smuggling in the two areas in the Southwestern tip of the country had been partly to blame for the rice shortage being experienced in Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (ZAMBASULTA) region.
“For a province which has long been reputed to be the drop-off area for rice smuggled in from Malaysia, Tawi-tawi never had any problem with its rice supply which was sold for as low as P34 (Dhs 2.33) per kilo. When the smuggling route was closed a month ago, however, Tawi-tawi residents suddenly found themselves lining up for rice sold as high as P100 (Dh6.87) per kilo right after the Eid Al Fitr,” Pinol said.
Tawi-Tawi is located at the country’s western far end, just across the border with Malaysia.