SOME 70 farmers rallied at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday demanding the bureau to speed up its investigation on the rampant rice smuggling in the country.
BOC chief John Sevilla said that the BOC had imposed several reforms that would help curb the rampant smuggling of rice in the country, which affects the livelihood of farmers.
At least 10 farmers are affected in every single container of smuggled rice that enters the country, Sevilla noted.
He added that the BOC had started giving access to inward foreign manifest of the bureau and that of the Department of Agriculture. However, he clarified that the program was not yet finished.
“Yun pinaghahandaan na namin iyon, sinabi namin na pansamantala habang wala pa noon ay pwede nang gamitin sa magsasaka tungkol sa imports na pina-publish namin every month,” Sevilla said.
Sevilla had warned all BOC employees involved in the approval and clearance of rice imports without permits shall be held accountable for their actions.
He reiterated that rice importation without an import permit is to be treated as smuggling, and thus, will not be allowed to enter the country.
“Sino man ang lumabag diyan ay may mangyayaring hindi maganda sa taong iyon,” he warned.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chair, Jaime “Ka Jimmy” Tadeo explained that 3.8 tons of rice production or 76 sacks of rice from 10 hectares of rice plants are affected by every van of smuggled rice.
He urged the BOC to punish and prosecute all BOC employees in cahoots with the rice smugglers.