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Reported Distribution and Sale of ‘Fake Rice

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Senate Inquiry, In Aid of Legislation on “Reported Distribution and Sale of ‘Fake Rice’ in relation to SRN 970 – Review of the Procurement, Distribution and Monitoring Framework of NFA to Improve NFA’s Policies, Procedures and Practices, Stop Smuggling, Price Manipulation, and Ensure Availability and Affordability of Rice to Consumers”, Chaired by Senator Cynthia A. Villar

Monday, 13 July 2015, 9:00 a.m., Senator Laurel Room, 2/F Senate of the Philippines, GSIS Bldg., Pasay City.

Findings

1. The public should be warned about the safety and health concerns of the fake rice.

2. The sample tested positive of Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP). It seems that this is an isolated case since it was not found in other areas in Davao.

3. It was not ascertained whether the fake rice was imported or locally sourced.

4. DOST explained that an extruder machine is used to manufacture food products like iron-fortified or premix rice. There are other rice mills that can produce iron-fortified or premix rice.

5. Origin/traceability of the rice sample was ascertained by the PNP-CIDG Regional Office. The report was submitted to the Chair. NFA promised to submit a final incident report on the matter after two weeks.

6. Rice Importation, Smuggling and Food Safety Concerns – smuggled rice was estimated at 600.000 metric tons last year based UN Comtrade.

7. The National Food Authority (NFA) opened the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) – Omnibus Rice Importation program to the private sector with a total volume of 187, 000 metric tons .The MAV is the only way by which the private sector can bring in rice into the country since private sector rice importation was prohibited in 2010.

8. The National Food Authority (NFA) is inviting the private sector to participate in the importation of an aggregate volume of 805,200 metric tons (MT) of rice under the Minimum Access Volume (MAV) for this year. This move is to allow importers from the private sector to bring in rice at lower cost until 2017. Under the 2015 MAV program, the total importation volume comprises 755,200 MT of country-specific quota (CSQ) and 50,000 MT of omnibus origin volume. The CSQ is broken down as follows: China, 50,000 MT; India, 50,000 MT; Pakistan, 50,000 MT; Australia, 15,000 MT; El Salvador, 4,000 MT; Thailand, 293,100 MT; and Vietnam, 293,100 MT. Each

importer would be allowed to bring in a maximum of 20,000 MT for the entire allocation from any country of origin. No more allocations would be issued when the omnibus origin volume is exhausted. All rice imported under the 2015 MAV rice importation program shall be levied with a tariff of 35% to be paid in advance to the Land Bank of the Philippines. The final assessment and valuation, however, shall be made by the Bureau of Customs.

9. Regulation and Monitoring Function of NFA on the Distribution and Retail of Rice. Review their procedures and system to ensure that only true rice are sold in the markets.

10. DOJ was asked if they were able to prosecute any agricultural smuggler so far.

11. SINAG reported unabated smuggling of rice and meat and other agricultural products. At the instance of the Chair, the hearing ended around 12:30 noon.

Resource Persons Present

1. Secretary Francis N. Pangilinan, Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization

2. Administrator Renan B. Dalisay, NFA

3. Deputy Administrator Ludovico Jarina, NFA

4. Asst. Director Alberto Cariso, Jr., Food Development Center, NFA

5. Ms. Karen Roscom, Director, BAFS

6. Dir. Sophia Taburna, OIC Chief, National Quarantine Services Division, BPI, DA

7. Asst. Secretary Raymond Liboro, DOST

8. Dr. Mario Catanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, DOST

9. Dr. Ma. Patricia Azanza, Director, Industrial Technology Devt. Institute

10. Commissioner Alberto Lina, BOC

11. Asst. Prosecutor Agnes S. Bagaforo-Arellano, DOJ

12. Deputy Director Edward A. Villarta, Deputy Director for Regional Service, NBI

13. Ms. Luzviminda Fortaleza, DILG

14. Undersecretary Kenneth Hartigan-Go, USec. For Health and Regulations, DOH

15. Mr. Herculano C. Co, Jr., President, Philippine Confederation of Grains Association, Inc.

16. Mr. Jaime O. Magbanua, National President, Grains Retailers Confederation of the Philippines

17. Atty. Paz Benavidez, ASec. BPI

18. PSupt. Joel Pernito, Regional Chief, CIDG

19. Norlito Gicana, FPA

20. Ms. Erlinda L. Falle, Matina Aplaya, Davao City

21. Mrs. Carmencita F. Griño, Davao City

22. Rosendo So - President, SINAG, Chair, Abono Partylist

23. Fabian Dayrit - President, Integrated Chemist of the Philippines