Senator Cynthia Villar urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on Wednesday to sanction at least one rice smuggler to set a “sample” to prove the government is indeed implementing the law on rice smuggling.
Villar echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning against smugglers to “stop messing with the people” during his third State of the Nation Address.
“Nakikiusap tayo sa Department of Justice at sa Philippine Competition Commission na sana kahit isa lang mag-sample para naman makita nila na we are going to implement the law,” Villar told dzMM on Wednesday.
(We are pleading to the DOJ and the PCC that they at least do a sample so they can see that we are going to implement the law.)
“Wala po eh. Sabi nila mag-pa-file daw (There’s none. They said they will file a case.),” said the Senator, when asked if either of the two government offices have filed cases against rice smugglers before.
Villar, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, lamented that there seems to be “no light yet until now” in the issue.
Villar, however, stressed that filing cases is just a deterrent to rice smuggling, but the “ultimate solution would be developmental.”
She said they are trying to do this through rice tariffication and building what she called “rice schools.”
The Senator also added the Department of Finance has promised to allocate P10 billion a year to fund programs that would make Filipino farmers and rice cultivation “very good, competitive, and profitable.” /kga