Bureau of Customs Commisioner, Rozzano Rufino, has approved the selling of smuggled rice seized in Cebu last March and in Albay last year worth P1.2 billion.
To be auctioned are the 500,000 sacks of that were seized at the Port of Cebu from March 18 to April 2 and 94,000 bags of Vietnamese rice seized from MV Minh Tuan in Albay province last year.
“We have 200 containers to be bid out…After that, maybe in two weeks we will increase the number to be bid out to 300…. I want to dispose all these rice by August or early part of September,” Cebu Customs District Collector Edward de la Cuesta said.
The National Food Authority has even said that disposing the rice could help to prevent sudden rise in prices during lean season. But the NFA also claims that disposing was meant to preempts the disposal process stipulated under the Tariff and Customs Code.
“The rice stock held by BOC, if infused into the market, will counteract any attempt to distort the rice market,” NFA Administration Orlan Calayag said.
On the other hand, NFA had said prices of the rice had stabilized following the release at P32 per kilo to markets. But then House Representative committee member Rep. Arnel Ty urged the government to unloadits large inventory of smuggled rice to counter a price hike in rice. Ty has even said that the prices have gone up by as much as P2 per kilo.