Farmers cast doubt on P88-M rice auction


MALOLOS CITY: The Federation of Central Luzon Farmers Cooperative, headed by Simeon Sioson, has raised their apprehensions about the integrity of the rice auction to be made by the Bureau of Customs today.

To be auctioned are 94,000 bags of Vietnamese rice seized in September last year at the Port of Legazpi in Albay.

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon was quoted as saying “the National Food Authority [NFA] quoted the amount of P88 million as the reference or base price for the entire shipment.”

Biazon said in a news report that, “a Customs memorandum order or prescribed procedures have been drawn up to ensure the integrity of the auction, including inviting observers from the media and Commission on Audit [COA],” and added that the commissioner pointed out that “We will make sure that the prescribed procedures are followed to ensure the integrity of the auction.”

Sioson, on the other hand said that the scheduled BOC fast-track auction of 93,952 bags (each at 50 kilograms) of smuggled rice in the Port of Legazpi can be considered as terribly wrong and corrupt or anomalous “under the touted ‘daang matuwid’ of the PNoy administration.”

Sioson also noted that, as shown in the thrice published notice of public auction in a daily broadsheet newspaper “the public viewing of rice stocks, the pre-bid conference, the submission of bidders’ pre-qualification documents, and the evaluation by the Bureau of Customs of the bidders’ pre-qualification documents will all be done on Tuesday [May 14] from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.”

“In the case of prospective bidders who read only the last advertisement which came out on May 11, as May 12 and 13 were both non-office days [Sunday and election day],” he added.

Sioson also stressed that, they do not have even one single office/business/working day to secure and prepare the host of pre-qualification documents that they have to submit right on the first working day, May 14, 2013.

Another thing, Sioson said “The prospective bidders have to determine how they will dispose of the rice stocks with floor price of P88.3 million, study how much price they have to bid, secure manager’s check for the bid bond, prepare the 50 percent spot payment in case they will win in the auction, and they have only up to 10:15 a.m. of the second working day [today May 15]to do these things because it is already the auction deadline.”

Sioson noted that, “in case of failed bidding, the second auction will be automatically held on the following business day, or May 16. Certainly, some prospective bidders cannot also participate because it takes time to secure some pre-qualification documents, like BIR [bureau of Internal Revenue]tax clearances, while needed studies in coming up with the bids maybe not yet complete at this point.”

Raadee S. Sausa


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