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2 traders arrested for hoarding rice


Incoming Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, speaks before officials and employees of the Agriculture Department, at their main office along Eliptical Road in Quezon City, June 8, 2016. Piñol stated that he will bring back the Department's mandate to produce food for the Filipino people. He will replace outgoing Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on July 1, 2016. (Mark Balmores)

AGRICULTURE Secretary Manny Piñol (Tempo/Mark Balmores)

TWO rice traders, one of them a Taiwanese, were arrested yes­terday in Iligan City for allegedly hoarding 40,000 bags of rice, ac­cording to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol.

In his Facebook post, Piñol said businessmen Sonia C. Payan, a Filipino-Chinese, and Jhonny D. Tan, a Taiwanese, will be charged with hoarding, involvement in cartel operations, and profiteer­ing.

National Food Authority acting Administrator Tomas Escarez said the rice stocks kept in four ware­houses in Iligan City were seized by the government.

Escarez said the two traders were the first to be arrested in the intensified campaign against rice hoarding ordered by Presi­dent Duterte.

Members of the Sub-Committee on Rice Hoarding, Cartel, and Smuggling, which include the Na­tional Intelligence Coordinating Agency, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Cus­toms, the Philippine National Po­lice, the Philippine Ports Authority, the Department of Trade and In­dustry, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Department of Labor and Em­ployment, and the NFA, swooped down on the four warehouses fol­lowing reports of alleged hoarding by the two grains traders.

Escarez said the documents in the possession of the two traders were inconsistent with their stock inventory and appeared spurious, prompting the NFA to order the seizure.

NFA Adjudication Officer Sam Dimaporo and Chairperson of the Sub-Committee NFA Director Di­ane Silva of Region 10 together with ARD Buerano and all Region 10 PMs conducted the adjudica­tion proceedings.

The arrest of the suspected hoarders and the seizure of the rice stocks were the first major accomplishment of the govern­ment team involved in the cam­paign against rice hoarding.