CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The National Food Authority (NFA) has cancelled the grains trading licenses of two Iligan City traders who were caught hoarding rice on Oct. 9 by a joint task group formed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
NFA Acting Administrator Tomas Escarez said the rice stocks of businessmen Sonia C. Payan, a Filipino-Chinese, and Jhonny D. Tan, a Taiwanese, were kept in four warehouses in Iligan City.
Escarez said the two traders were the first to be arrested in the intensified campaign against rice hoarding ordered by President Duterte.
Members of the Sub-Committee on Rice Hoarding, Cartel and Smuggling which include the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Coast Guard, the Department of Labor and Employment, and NFA, swooped down on the four warehouses following reports of alleged hoarding by the two grains traders.
Photos by Alan Jay Jacalan and Anacleto Degorio, DA AFID
NFA Regional Director for Northern Mindanao Diane Silva said government agents also confiscated the rice stocks estimated to be over 19,000 bags.
Two cargo trucks found in the warehouses of the two traders were also confiscated.
Silva said the traders were also fined, banned from engaging in grains trading in perpetuity, and charged with criminal cases before the local courts.
The confiscated rice will be sold by the NFA to prevent the deterioration of the quality of the stocks, with the proceeds placed in escrow in case the traders appeal their case.
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said he visited the warehouse where the confiscated stocks are kept, and congratulated the task group which conducted the raid and recommended the promotion of acting NFA Manager Sam Dimaporo to full-fledge manager.
Letters of commendation, he said, will also be sent to the other members of the task group which conducted the raid. (DA PR)