Climaco seeks guidance on BoC, NFA import rules PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 February 2015 14:34

In a bid to strengthen the local government’s efforts against smuggling activities in the city, Mayor Beng Climaco has sought guidance of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the National Food Authority (NFA) on their respective policies covering the importation of goods and agricultural products from other countries.

Mayor Climaco informed the senate inquiry on the reported rampant smuggling activities here Tuesday that some legitimate rice traders had complained of being harassed by certain people claiming to be employees of a government agency like the NFA.

“Sometimes, these people are using the local government unit and the police in the process of harassing the rice traders,” the mayor said as she cited an instance when a man, who claimed to be an NFA employee, went to her office in City Hall, carrying a photocopy document that certified him as the NFA’s deputized representative in the anti-rice smuggling task force.

The chief executive suggested that NFA should deal and coordinate its activities with the city government “so that we can be guided accordingly, especially in matters involving NFA employees”.

At the same time, Climaco sought the BoC’s clarification and guidance on the so-called liberalizing the importation of rice as a way to curb if not solve the smuggling problems.

“I am confused because in my talks with Collector (Migelfio) Saquisame he was talking about liberalizing the importation of rice. So, we need your guidance on this matter,” said Climaco, referring to BoC Commissioner John Philip Sevilla, who attended the inquiry on behalf of Collector Saquisame.

Meanwhile, Sen. Cynthia Villar, who presided over the inquiry as chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, has instructed the NFA to find ways and means that would legalize (rice) traders who are patronizing or buying rice from smugglers.

“Help the rice traders to legalize their businesses and then teach the ‘importers cum-smugglers’ about the legal importation process. This, I think, will lessen our problems in smuggling,” Villar said.

“Pag walang bumibili, walang smugglers. So, make them NFA retailers, those who buy and sell smuggled rice,” the senator instructed the NFA official during her committee’s inquiry of the smuggling activities here.— Vic Larato