By Billy Begas
Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez expressed the support of the House of Representatives to the decision of President Ferdinand to distribute the seized smuggled rice to poor families in Zamboanga.
“This significant gesture demonstrates more than just an act of generosity; it underscores the administration’s commitment to addressing the needs of our people, especially during challenging times,” Romualdez said.
“Furthermore, this initiative solidifies our collective stance against the activities of hoarders, smugglers, and those who unscrupulously manipulate the prices of rice and other essential commodities,” he added.
At the same time, Romualdez urged the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to file charges against smugglers, including those behind the illegal entry of rice through ports in Mindanao.
“I congratulate the Bureau of Customs and other concerned agencies for a job well done. But they should not stop at confiscating rice and other products smuggled into the country. These offices should file charges against the smugglers immediately,” Romualdez added.
Unless the culprits are jailed or otherwise punished, Romualdez said they would continue doing their illegal activities, even if some of their smuggled products end up being seized.
As Representatives of the people, Romualdez said it is their duty to ensure that every Filipino family has unhampered access to affordable and quality basic goods.
“Our mission goes beyond legislation; it encompasses the very essence of public service — to safeguard and enhance the lives of our constituents. We are fully committed to working closely with the Executive branch and other relevant agencies in fortifying measures against these illicit activities,” he said.
“By doing so, we aim to protect our nation’s food security, stabilize our economy, and ensure that the fruits of our nation’s growth are felt by every Filipino. Together, with unity of purpose and a clear vision for the future, we will strive to build a nation where prosperity is shared and where every Filipino is given the opportunity to thrive,” the House leader added.
Meanwhile, Bulacan Rep. Salvador Pleyto said the decision of Marcos would mean “confiscated smuggled rice can no longer be rescued by bribes.”
“By giving them to the people, it has been placed beyond the reach of those who have illegally brought them in,” Pleyto said. “The President’s action sent the strong signal that there should be no revolving door for smuggled rice in the government.”
The BOC confiscated 41,180 bags of imported rice from a warehouse in Zamboanga after the owner failed to prove its legal entry into the country.
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