A consumer group is asking the National Food Authority (NFA) to investigate Harbour Center Port Terminal Incorporated (HCPTI) for allegedly storing rice from the food agency without proper permit.
National Coalition of Filipino Consumers (NCFC) spokesperson BenCy Ellorin said only NFA-accredited warehouses are allowed to store rice from the agency.
“The National Food Authority should immediately conduct a probe because this is a clear violation of government rules. Under the government regulations, only NFA-accredited warehouses are allowed to store NFA [rice],” the group said in a statement.
The illegal hoarding of NFA rice, according to NCFC, is a clear violation of Republic Act No. 7581, or the Price Act Law, which is punishable by five to 15 years imprisonment or can cost a business its accreditation and lead to its blacklisting.
The NCFC revealed that they received information that warehouses of HCPTI has been keeping tons of NFA rice although it has no accreditation from the food agency.
The group expressed fear that HCPTI is being used by groups for smuggling rice or hoarders trying to manipulate the market price of the grains.
“This is one area the NFA should look into. Aside from looking into the possibility of the HCPTI illegally storing NFA rice, a deeper probe should be simultaneously conducted to find out if the HCPTI is involved in smuggling or hoarding,” NCFC said.