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Pakinabangan kaysa itapon: Nancy Binay calls on BOC to donate smuggled rice

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The “ripple effects” of rising inflation, now at 6.4% and the highest in nine year, would be critical, Senator Nancy Binay said on Friday.

She deplored that about 10 million Filipinos living below the poverty line “are now facing hunger and acute levels of food shortage.”

“At lolobo pa ito hanggang next year if government does not arrest the situation,” Binay said.

“Inflation has worsened the incidence of hunger, and the scale and depth of the immediate impact of inflation have shocking effects on poor families,” she said.

Binay again urged the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to turn over the P200-million worth of smuggled rice it seized earlier to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other concerned agencies to help lower the pride of the staple.

Instead of letting the rice rot in its warehouses, the BoC should consider donating the over 2,500 metric tons of rice languishing in its warehouse to concerned agencies.

“Bago pa mabulok sa warehouse ang mga bigas, mas mabuting mapakinabangan na ito ng ating mga kababayan,” she said.

Binay also urged BoC “not to dilly-dally on this issue since the country’s economic development cluster already acknowledged the need to implement reforms to reduce food prices for Filipino families.”

“The clock is ticking. At nakikita natin that the incidence of hunger caused by inflation ay napakataas particularly in poverty-stricken areas in the Bicol region, Visayas, and Mindanao, including those internally displaced as a result of the conflict,” she said.

Binay said the BoC should also consider helping Zamboanga city and Basilan after both were placed under state of calamity due to commercial rice prices driving up to as much as P70-P100 per kilo in remote villages.

“Malaking bagay po kung ibabahagi ng Customs sa DA (Department of Agriculture) ang mga nasabat nilang bigas para makatulong sa kanilang programa doon,” she said.

“Muli po tayong nananawagan kay Commissioner Isidro Lapeña ng Customs na i-turn over na lang ng kanilang ahensya ang mga nasabat nilang bigas sa DSWD at iba pang concerned agencies ng pamahalaan,” she added.