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Sino ang salarin? LP seeks probe on attempt to smuggle P68-M worth of rice

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Liberal Party members on Monday called on the government to investigate the attempted smuggling of rice worth P67.9 million off Zamboanga Sibugay recently.

“Panagutin natin ang mga smugglers na nagpapayaman habang lalong nagugutom ang mga Pilipino,” said Senator Bam Aquino, a member of the Senate minority bloc.

“Imbestigahan na para malaman kung sino ang sangkot sa smuggling ng bigas. Posibleng pare-pareho ang mga sindikatong nagpapasok ng droga at iba pang illegal goods sa bansa,” he added.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, for his part, lauded the Naval Forces Western Mindanao for intercepting the rice shipment off Olutanga Island in Zamboanga Sibugay on Saturday night.

According to reports, Naval Task Force 61 intercepted M/V Diamond 8, which was found to be carrying 27,180 sacks or around 1,359 metric tons of Vietnam rice.

“We laud the Navy for doing its job of protecting our territorial waters from bad elements and from those who are trying to make quick money out of our countrymen,” said Pangilinan, LP president.

Former congressman Erin Tanada, now LP’s vice president for external affairs, said the government must identify and punish those responsible for this smuggling attempt.

“Baka matulad na naman ito sa isyu ng P6.4-billion na shabu smuggling na hindi napapanagot ang mga pangunahing sangkot,” said Tanada.