Rice smugging takes place weekly in Zambo — Source PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 June 2014 14:00

Rice smuggling is rampant in Zamboanga City, with boats coming from Tawi-Tawi and Jolo entering in and unloading sacks of rice at the city’s different private finger wharves on a daily basis, according to a reliable source

According to the source, the smuggled rice coming from Jolo and Tawi-Tawi, are being carried out by two rich traders.

The source lauded Mayor Beng Climaco for urging the creation of an anti-rice smuggling task force.

He lamented that rice smuggling is killing the local rice farmers whose very aim is to send their children to school and to have livelihood security.

The source also said that rice smuggling should be eradicated because the country  is an agriculture country producing excellent quality of rice.

He said there is no need for the government to import rice because :we are a rice country.”

The Philippine Center on Transnational Crimes Western Mindanao Field Office had earlier reported that the city have almost 100 private finger wharves, mostly operating illegally. The wharves are used not only for human trafficking, but also for rice smuggling and other illegal activities.

Earlier, City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat said the entry of smuggled rice in Zamboanga City greatly affects the livelihood of local farmers.

He said smuggled rice, which are sold at cheaper prices, is killing the local rice industry.

Palacat said farmers have to set the prices of locally-produced rice to a level where they will have to include costs for various expenses to include fertilizers, pesticides, among others.

The local rice production can only support 15 to 21 percent of this city’s requirement and the balance is covered by the rice products from other provinces and the National Food Authority (NFA), Palacat said.

“There are still several others [rice produce] from outside [Zamboanga City] that are brought here, so there is over supply and when there is over supply, the rice produce of the local farmers are left behind,” Palacat said.

Three years, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Zamboanga Port Manager Leonilo Miole disclosed that there are at least 30 wharves operating illegally in this city.

Miolemade the announcement after a task force completed the conduct of inventory of all wharves–government and privately owned–in this city.

He disclosed that most of the wharves illegally operating are located in this city’s east coast.

Miole said they noted during the inspection that most of the wharves, classified as finger or mini wharves, were constructed for the convenience of coastal communities.

In order to construct a port, permits must be asked from the PPA and the City Government to include a foreshore lease agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Miole said  — Allen Abastillas