ROXAS City, Capiz – Persons involved in rice cartels must be charged for economic sabotage, according to the head of a group of grains retailers.
Grains Retailers Confederation of the Philippines (GRECON) national president Jaime Magbanua made the call after President Rodrigo Duterte issued a stern warning to rice cartels and rice hoarders during his 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23, 2018.
In a radio interview here, Magbanua said the government must give focus on running after cartels and hoarders.
But he said he has no knowledge about rice cartels and how these work in the country.
“As I know, what exists in our country are rice smuggling and manipulation of the price of rice,” Magbanua said.
He also called on the President to name those involved in rice cartels so that they (GRECON) can also plan and take steps to curb their rackets and help lower the price of rice.
Magbanua said the common denominator in the problem on the high price of rice is to help the farmers so that they can compete with neighboring ASEAN countries and “we will not be dependent on their dictates on the price.”
In his third SONA, President Duterte said that in order to stabilize rice prices, “we also need to address the issue of artificial rice shortage.”
“I now ask all the rice hoarders, cartels and their protectors, you know that I know who you are; stop messing with the people,” the President stressed.
Mr. Duterte also directed concerned government agencies to “unmask the perpetrators of this economic sabotage and our law enforcement agencies to bring them to justice.” (PIA/Capiz)