PHILIPPINE National Police–Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP–CIDG) operatives together with Marilao policemen raided on Thursday a privately owned warehouse in a remote village in Bulacan where a hundred sacks of commercial National Food Authority (NFA) rice were being stored and repacked.
Bulacan acting police director Senior Superintendent Ferdinand Divina said that Bulacan PNP-CIDG agents led by Chief Inspector Rey–naldo Magdaluyo and Mari- lao policemen led by Superintendent Marcos Rivero also intercepted two 10-wheeler trucks each loaded with 5,000 sacks of NFA rice inside the Jommaro Star Rice Mill owned by spouses Roberto and Regina Paulengco at Abangan Norte in Marilao, Bulacan.
Authorities missed the couple during the raid but managed to arrest 20 people, including warehouse manager Juancho Esguerra San Luis, who will be charged with violating Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act Law.
Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alva–rado condemned the incident, saying that government rice should not be altered and must be sold at an affordable price to the public. He also instructed the police to intensify their operations against rice hoarders.
“Those behind these nefarious activities should be held responsible. The objective of the government to provide enough food and cheap rice to citizens is nice. However, there are unscrupulous businessmen [who]should face the consequences of what they did,” he said.
CIDG chief Director Benjamin Magalong said his men had been watching the warehouse for a week. During that time, they caught red-handed several men repacking NFA rice and selling this at a higher price.
Magalong said the operation was in line with the direc- tive of Interior Secretary Ma–nuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd to intensify their campaign against crimes that seek to destabilize the economy.