Aquino orders NBI to go after food hoarders

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into reported hoarding, profiteering and cartel-like activities of food products, such as rice and garlic.

The President made the directive through the Department of Justice (DOJ) when he met on Thursday some Cabinet members to discuss the sudden spike of food prices like rice and garlic, said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a statement.

He said the Philippine National Police (PNP) will assist the NBI in these efforts.

"The directive came after it was determined that there is sufficient supply of rice, garlic and other basic food items," the Palace official said.

The President also directed Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Secretary Francis Pangilinan and Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo to intensify monitoring efforts to ensure continuous supply and stable prices of these commodities.

Pangilinan said that during the meeting it was also agreed that the government will import additional 200 metric tons of rice from Vietnam to replenish buffer stock of the National Food Authority (NFA).

The NFA, Department of Finance and Bureau of Customs will work on NFA acquisition of 20,000 MT of seized smuggled rice, he said.

Pangilinan said that personnel of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) will be deputized to monitor and inspect rice warehouses for possible hoarding or diversion of NFA rice.

The NFA will also maintain the doubling of release of P32 and P27 per kilo of its rice to the markets until September, he added. (SDR/Sunnex)

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