Yamsuan: President outwits smugglers with move to give seized rice stocks to poor families

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has outsmarted smugglers and taught them an expensive lesson with his recent move to distribute smuggled rice stocks to poor families in Zamboanga, according to Bicol Saro Partylist Representative Brian Raymund Yamsuan.

Yamsuan commended the President for sending a strong message to smugglers and hoarders that they have nothing to gain from their unfair trade practices, while at the same time, extending assistance to poor households that have suffered the most from these illegal acts.

As the concurrent agriculture secretary, President Marcos Jr.’s decisive move also aims to protect small Filipino farmers from unfair competition as smuggled rice that flood the market usually pull down the prices of their produce, Yamsuan added.

“The President has given smugglers and hoarders a bitter, expensive lesson where it would hurt them the most—their pockets. Their seized rice stocks mean their investments can never be recovered. Ang smuggled rice na naisaing na, hindi na kayang bawiin. Lugi ang smugglers, pero panalo naman ang magsasaka at mahihirap nating mga kababayan,” said Yamsuan, whose partylist organization represents the people of Bicol, including the region’s more than 700,000 small farmers and fisherfolk.

“By his single strong-minded act, the President has helped farmers and poor families and punished those that have made life difficult for them,” Yamsuan added.

Yamsuan was referring to President Marcos Jr.’s decision to distribute some 4,000 sacks of smuggled rice seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte on Tuesday.

The sacks of rice given away to the 4Ps beneficiaries were part of the 42,180 smuggled sacks of rice worth P42 million that were confiscated by the BOC-Port of Zamboanga in a warehouse in Barangay San Jose Gusu in Zamboanga City. The stocks were forfeited in favor of the government after the warehouse operator was given ample time, but failed, to explain where the rice was imported and where he paid the tariffs and taxes for them.

During his visit to the Zamboanga provinces to lead the distribution of the smuggled rice stocks, the President also led the turnover of assistance worth a total of P18.56 million under the Philippine Rural Development Project Investment for Rural Enterprises and Agricultural and Fisheries Productivity (PRDP I-REAP) of the Department of Agriculture (DA), and DA KADIWA financial grants amounting to P4 million.

He also oversaw the distribution of P120 million worth of assistance under the “Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantages/Displaced Workers” of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); P530,000 worth of DOLE livelihood assistance; and assistance certificates from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. (BFAR).

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