Rice cartels, smuggling going out of style - Alcala

Legazpi City (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said rice cartel and smuggling would soon be a thing of the past as he noted an upsurge in the country's rice production goal last year.

"The agriculture program is on the right track in meeting the challenges to make the country a rice-sufficient nation," said Alcala, who was here on Wednesday to turn over to some 15 farmers' groups in Albay shallow tube well pumps capable of irrigating up to 20 hectares of rice lands.

He said the rice cartel operation would soon "die a natural death."

Related News: Philippines may start exporting rice this year

There are several big rice cartels tagged as the "Binondo" cartel owned by Chinese-Filipinos who corner and manipulate rice prices and supply in the country, confirmed a source who refused to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter.

The source added that the cartel is involved in rice smuggling because it controls hundreds of multipurpose cooperatives in the country.

In Bicol, there are at least two rice cartels owned by Chinese-Filipino businessmen who operate in Camarines Sur and Albay.

Other News: Pope names Manila archbishop to 2 key councils in Vatican

Coops as dummies

The source also took notice of the widespread rice smuggling activities of government-accredited multipurpose cooperatives used as dummies by big-time rice traders.

These reported rice smuggling activities have triggered a Senate inquiry wherein several multipurpose cooperatives had to confront smuggling charges by the Bureau of Customs.

Alcala said that despite the calamities that happened last year, the country was able to produce some 18.3 million metric tons of rice which surpassed the Department of Agriculture's (DA) goal of 300,000 metric tons.

Other News: Political ads' airtime cut stays

He said the bright outlook posted by the country's rice production meant the DA could continue to cut down its rice importation program by half this year from the 2.4 million metric tons of rice imports last year.

Rice export program

"Gradually, we would stop rice importation this year and start to embark on a rice exportation program to other Asian neighbors," he said.

Aside from the tube well pumps given to Albay's farmers, Alcala also handed to Albay Gov. Joey Salceda a four-wheel drive mini-tractor worth P1 million during his visit here on Wednesday.

Alcala said the distribution of farm implements is part of the government's effort to achieve its rice sufficiency target by 2014.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused
    Sandigan OKs hospital stay for GMA co-accused

    The Sandiganbayan has allowed a government official, accused with plunder along with former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to undergo a medical procedure at a hospital tomorrow. The anti-graft court permitted former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Benigno Aguas to undergo a cardiopulmonary/endocrine clearance at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. …

  • Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy
    Sandigan recommends executive clemency for ex-envoy

    The Sandiganbayan has recommended executive clemency for a former Philippine ambassador to Nigeria who was sentenced to 52 years for malversation of public funds. The Sandiganbayan First Division found Masaranga Umpa guilty of misusing the Assistance-To-Nationals Stand-by Funds totaling $80,478.80 in 2007, but the anti-graft court said the former assemblyman from Lanao del Norte should be pardoned. …

  • Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour
    Stargazing at the mall highlights Earth Hour

    It was a night of stargazing in 58 SM Supermalls all over the country last night as these establishments participated in Earth Hour, an annual worldwide movement encouraging communities and establishments to switch off lights for one hour to raise global awareness of overuse of non-renewable resources. The Philippines has been an active participant of Earth Hour since 2008. Last night, in the province of Bulacan, for instance, all parishes, diocesan institutions, schools and household …

  • Payanig privatization hit
    Payanig privatization hit

    BLEMP Commercial of the Philippines, Inc. (BLEMP) denounced the recent announcement of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) to privatize the 18.4-hectare “Payanig sa Pasig” property. In a statement sent to The STAR, BLEMP lawyer Dennis Manalo said the PCGG has no right to auction the property because it has no valid title and is not in possession. The PCGG has not paid a single centavo in real property taxes for the property, he said. He narrated that it was in the early 70s …

  • New species of tarantula found
    New species of tarantula found

    Scientists from the Museum of Natural History (MNH) of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños have discovered a new species of cave-dwelling tarantula on an island off the coast of Quezon. The new species of the spider, Phlogiellus kwebaburdeos, was described in the recent issue of the Philippine Journal of Systematic Biology by MNH curators for spiders Aimee Lynn Dupo and Alberto Barrion along with their former student Joseph Rasalan. The tarantula was discovered by Rasalan during one …

  • Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others
    Palm Sunday: Do not add to suffering of others

    As Christendom enters Holy Week today, Palm Sunday, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday called on the faithful not to add to the sufferings of their fellowmen. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (ECPA), said that while Palm Sunday is oftentimes remembered as the glorious arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, it also signals the start of the Holy Week that tells of His suffering, death and …

  • Miriam pushes tougher graft law
    Miriam pushes tougher graft law

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a bill that would make public officials liable for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act even if they are elected to a fresh term or a new position. In filing Senate Bill 2716, Santiago sought to address what she said was the doctrine of condonation in Philippine jurisprudence brought about by the 2010 case of Salumbides vs. Ombudsman. “By merely asserting the doctrine of condonation, erring elective officials are automatically given a …

  • Phl hits back at China over sea infra work
    Phl hits back at China over sea infra work

    The Philippines assailed China yesterday for contesting Manila’s planned repair and maintenance works on some islands in the West Philippine Sea, saying they are “in no way comparable” to the Asian power’s massive reclamation activities which are in violation of international laws. “The Philippines’ possible undertaking of necessary maintenance and repairs on its existing facilities in the West Philippine Sea, over which the Philippines rightfully exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights and …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options