Duterte won’t legalize rice smuggling
It’s been a week since Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol teased about legalizing rice smuggling. President Rodrigo Duterte assured that it is something that he won’t allow to happen.
Before flying for his state visit in Israel and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Duterte said smuggling would be destructive to the economy.
“You’d put down on the market in turmoil. Smuggled rice unrestrained, that would promote disorder in this country,” Duterte said.
“Maybe we can import and lose. I-import natin, ipagbili natin at a price that… Malulugi tayo. Pero we’ll peg it at the price that the Filipino can afford,” he added.
Piñol issued the statement on smuggling at the height of the rice crisis in Zamboanga.
On the call for Piñol and National Food Authority (NFA) Administrtor Jason Aquino to resign due to their alleged incompetence in handling the rice crisis, Duterte only said “all we have to do is to improve” the law and “not necessarily fire people”.
“You know, all officials including me are bound by laws on the matter — rice, whatever it is. There are laws to be followed,” Duterte said. “Maybe the laws are weak or unenforceable”.
However, he assured that if there is indeed hoarding in the rice sector, he said he “will not hesitate to exercise the powers of the President and I will ask the military and the police to raid rice warehouses, bodegas”.
“I can do that and if, I said, you force me, I will,” Duterte said.