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Rice ‘unfit for human consumption’ found in Muntinlupa warehouse raid


(Updated 5:21 p.m.) The Philippine National Police discovered thousands of bags of National Food Authority rice, including rice that was "unfit for human consumption," in a Muntinlupa warehouse allegedly used for illegal rice hoarding, a spokesperson said Sunday.

According to Chief Insp. Elizabeth Jasmin of the PNP's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), a warehouse located at JY & Son Cmpd., Km. 23, West Service Rd., Cupang, Muntinlupa City owned by Willy Go and Romeo Mariano Jr. was found to contain about 20,000 sacks of commercial and NFA rice.

“Most of the sacks of rice were observed to be unfit for human consumption. A large number of empty NFA and commercial rice sacks were noticed to have been piled inside the two warehouses. A commercial rice milling machine believed to be used for polishing inferior quality and old stock rice was also discovered,” Jasmin said in a statement issued by the CDG.

The warehouse was one of 12 warehouses in Metro Manila and Bulacan inspected by the authorities. According to an earlier report on GMA News TV's "Balitanghali," the PNP and the NFA inspected the warehouse after receiving a tip linking it to the illegal repacking of NFA rice as commercial rice to fetch higher prices.



Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Presidential Assistant for Food Security & Agricultural Modernization Secretary Francis Pangilinan also arrived at the warehouse to inspect the rice stock.

"Ang [operasyon na ito] ay bahagi ng programa ni Pangulong Benigno Aquino III sa food security. Hindi tayo papayag na manipulahin ang presyo ng pangunahing produkto...," Secretary Roxas said.

For his part, Secretary Pangilinan said, "Dapat tuloy-tuloy ang [surprise inspections] baka akalaing ningas-kugon lamang ang ating ginagawa."

CIDG statement

According to the CIDG press release, many of the 12 warehouses it inspected have been found to violate several laws, including the Price Act.

Enforcers found 32,500 bags of imported commercial rice in a warehouse in Tikay, Malolos City, Bulacan owned by Purefeeds FBIC.

“The owner or representative of the establishment failed to show pertinent documents in the importation of such large quantity of commercial rice. It was disclosed that the said company is only authorized to engage in the business of commercial animal feeds,” Jasmin said.

Three other warehouses in Valenzuela City and Manila had no display of an NFA license and no sign board, while one warehouse is suspected to be in illegal possession of imported rice, the CIDG added.

The said warehouses are being secured by the NFA enforcement personnel and CDG detectives.

In the meantime, Roxas assured the public that his department will ask the Bureau of Internal Revenue to check the tax liabilities of those rice traders whose warehouses have been found with NFA rice.

More surprise inspections

Roxas noted that they will ask the Bureau of Internal Revenue to check the tax liabilities of those rice traders whose warehouses have been found with NFA rice.

He added that there will also be surprise inspections of other warehouses nationwide.

Meanwhile, an earlier report on dwIZ radio said the warehouse in Muntinlupa was near one owned by the National Food Authority.

A photo by dwIZ also showed police disarming the warehouse's guards.

Police held some people in the warehouse for questioning, the Balitanghali report said.

The search came days after police raided a warehouse in Bulacan where workers were caught repacking NFA rice and selling it as commercial rice to fetch a higher price. — Joel Locsin with reports from Rouchelle Dinglasan and Patricia Denise Chiu/LBG/BM, GMA News
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