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NFA: No fake rice, only fake news

By CHITO CHAVEZ

The National Food Authority (NFA) and rice retailers insisted that there is no fake rice but only erroneous and false news about its existence.

In a press conference in Quezon City, NFA administrator Jason Aquino said that samples of suspected fake rice were real rice based on the results of NFA’s laboratory analyses.

He added that the rice samples yielded negative results for fake grains.

“A total of six raw rice samples were subjected to analyses… The result of the samples are totoong rice,” Aquino said.

James Magbanua, national president of the Grains Retailers Confederation of the Philippines (GRECON), said there is no actual fake rice discovered since 2015 up to the present.

The statement was backed by the NFA as Magbanua maintained that there is no reason for rice producers and retailers to sell fake rice as “it is costlier to produce fake rice by putting plastic additives.”

“We have also sought the rice retailers to assure the public that there is no fake rice in the country,” he said.
He added that the false news was made to take advantage of rice retailers.

“Merong bumibili ng isang kilo lang pero ibabalik dahil fake rice daw ito. Pinipilit na palitan ang fake rice ng isang kaban kung hindi irereport daw sa gobyerno. Kinikikilan lang kami,” Magbanua said.

Magbanua appealed to the public not to be judgmental and do research work before believing articles they read online.

The group also called on lawmakers to pass measures that will penalize those who generate and share false and unverified information.

“It is time to consider a legislative measure against those who create fake news, especially news that affect our economy,” Magbanua said.

A bill seeking to penalize any person or group who maliciously spreads false news or information in traditional and online media platforms was filed before the Senate last Thursday.

Under Senate Bill 1492, any person proven guilty of creating or distributing fake news will face a fine ranging from R100,000 to R5 million and one to five years of imprisonment.

Violators who have aided and encouraged fake news meanwhile will be fined P50,000 to P3 million and imprisoned from six months to three years.

If the offender is a public official, he will be made to pay twice the amount of fine and serve twice the period of imprisonment.

He will also be disqualified from holding any public office.

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