Rice smuggling killing local farmers — Beng PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 July 2013 13:56

Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar yesterday called on the attention of the Bureau of Customs in this part of the region to prevent the entry of smuggled rice to Zamboanga City, stressing that it is killing the lifeblood of the local farmers.

Mayor Climaco issued the statement during the National Irrigation Administration’s Irrigators Association Mid-Season O&M Conference and Zambasulta Federation of IAS Meeting yesterday morning at the NIA Zambasulta Office here.

She said she had received reports that rice from neighboring countries has been smuggled to Zamboanga City at very low prices, to the detriment of the local farmers.

“This is not good because they (smugglers) do not pay the necessary taxes to the government. And we are calling the attention of the Customs to prevent the entry of smuggled rice or collect taxes from the smugglers,” Climaco said.

The lady chief executive likened the rice smugglers to farm pests. “They are eating up the city’s economy,” she said even as she also urged the farmers themselves to help fight this kind of pest (rice smuggling).

“Lugi el di atun maga siembrador si entra ya el smuggled rice because it is sold at low prices compared to locally-produced rice,” Climaco said.

According to Climaco, one of her administration’s priority programs is to make Zamboanga a rice-sufficient city where every Zamboangueño family will have sufficient food on the table “so that we will not be dependent anymore on the rice granaries from other parts of the country.”

Meanwhile, Climaco cited the NIA for the assistance it had given to local farmers that resulted in increase of rice/palay production in the city.

“We want to tell President Noy that as far as Zamboanga City is concerned, District 1 and District 2 and NIA have contributed a little partnership to make our farmers productive,” Climaco said as she also thanked NIA for making Zamboanga City one of its key areas for irrigation programs and accomplishments.

The conference was highlighted by the “King and Queen” coronation program where Mayor Climaco assisted by NIA Manager Engr. Benedicto Isagani Pulis Jr. donned the crown on the queen. — Vic Larato