Authorities on Monday discovered an appalling modus operandi: rice imported from Thailand are mixed with broken rice intended for animal feeds then sold to the market as premium Sinandomeng rice.
The scam was discovered when Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd and officials of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Bureau of Internal Revenue, National Food Authority and Bureau of Customs inspected the Purefeeds Corp. warehouse at the First Industrial Center in Barangay Tikay, Malolos City, Bulacan, on Monday.
Roxas said the owners of Purefeeds Corp. could be held criminally liable for violations of the country’s trade laws.
“The broken rice residue intended for animal feeds came from Vietnam and was being mixed with the Blue Diamond rice imported from Thailand, and then repacked and being sold as ‘Golden Bee’ Premium Sinandomeng rice,” he pointed out.
Roxas said the operations of the rice mill will be temporary suspended while charges are being readied against Purefeeds Corp, which is owned by a certain Jomerito Soliman.
The raid on the Purefeeds warehouse was the 18th operations conducted by the Philippine National Police’s CIDG and NFA.
Of the 18 raids, Roxas said, only four were found to be engaged in illicit trading of rice.
Under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act, the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement units may be deputized to monitor and inspect warehouses for possible hoarding and diversion of NFA rice.
During the inspection, the government team discovered inside the warehouse at least 32,000 sacks of assorted broken rice intended for animal feed that came from Vietnam and regular rice imported from Thailand.
Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina, acting director of the Bulacan police, said two trucks loaded with 900 sacks of adulterated rice were prevented from leaving the warehouse.
According to NFA Administrator Arthur Juan, they will investigate why the trucks seized at the Purefeeds warehouse bore the logo of NFA.
The Marilao warehouse was one of 18 warehouses inspected by the PNP-CIDG since last week.