By Walden Bello
These lines come to mind as one observes the awful debacle that has overtaken the fate of the most important item in the Filipino diet. In a controversial recent judgment, a court in Davao recently ruled against the Bureau of Customs and ordered the release of 4.2 million tons of seized smuggled rice. Now the smugglers are shouting with glee at an unexpected development: Secretary Leila de Lima is on their side.
By Conrado de Quiros
I share Carlos Conde’s sentiments completely. Conde is the Philippine researcher for Human Rights Watch, Asia division, and he complains bitterly about Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks at the Senate and the senators’ response to them.
This refers to your editorial, “Rice and circuses,” which appeared in your Feb. 6 issue.
For those watching, the Senate hearing on rice smuggling last Monday was a distressing experience. We do not know which of the following occasioned the most wailing and gnashing of teeth: the fact that the identity of David Tan, the alleged central figure in rice smuggling, was finally resolved at the level of the Senate [...]
By Conrado de Quiros
What to do about smuggling? It’s something that’s been there for as long as the oldest members of this community have been on earth, and it looks nowhere near to being pushed mightily back, let alone eradicated. “We’re talking of an entire ecosystem here,” John Philip Sevilla, the new Customs chief, admits. The amounts [...]
Is David Tan for real? The new chief of the Bureau of Customs isn’t certain. “We don’t know if there’s really a David Tan,” Commissioner John Philip Sevilla said on Tuesday. Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, in pursuit of rice smugglers using his city’s seaport, told a TV audience on Sunday: “I have tried to track [...]
Rigoberto Tiglao’s claim that $390 million or P16.6 billion worth of rice was smuggled from Vietnam is wrong. It is meant to justify a predetermined conclusion that “Rice smuggling explodes under Aquino” (Inquirer, 12/20/12). Citing International Monetary Fund trade statistics between the Philippines and Vietnam during President Aquino’s first two years in office, Tiglao anchored [...]
By Rigoberto Tiglao
Despite former National Food Authority Administrator Angelito Banayo’s claims of a tuwid na daan policy during his watch, International Monetary Fund trade figures show that rice smuggling in the Aquino administration’s first two years—abetted by the NFA head himself, witnesses recently alleged in the Senate—has exploded to unprecedented levels, estimated at over P16.6 billion worth during this period.
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon excluded for possible distribution to flood victims some 21 million kilos (420,000 bags) of “smuggled Indian rice” in conformity with the Senate’s freeze order and pending appeals from the shipper’s representatives.