Bicol Saro party list representative Brian Raymund Yamsuan said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has outsmarted the smugglers and taught them a costly lesson with his recent attempt to distribute smuggled rice supplies to poor families in Zamboanga.
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 providing relief to poor households who have suffered the most from these illegal acts.
As concurrent Minister of Agriculture, President Marcos Jr.’s decisive move is also aimed at protecting small Filipino farmers from unfair competition, as smuggled bags of rice that flood the market usually drive down the prices of their products, Yamsuan added.
“The president has given smugglers and hoarders a bitter, expensive lesson where it would hurt them most: their wallets. Due to their confiscated rice stocks, their investments may never be recouped. Rice is smuggled, but the Hindi language is kayang bawiin. Lugi ang smugglers, pero panalo naman ang magsasaka at mahihirap nating mga kababayan,” said Yamsuan, whose party organization represents the people of Bicol, including the region’s more than 700,000 smallholder farmers and fishermen.
“By his single, determined act, the president has helped farmers and poor families and punished those who made their lives difficult,” Yamsuan added.
Yamsuan referred to President Marcos Jr.’s decision. to distribute some 4,000 bags 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 bags of rice given away to the 4Ps beneficiaries were part of the 42,180 smuggled bags of rice worth P42 million seized by the BOC Port of Zamboanga at a warehouse in Barangay San Jose Gusu in Zamboanga City. The supplies were forfeited in favor of the government after the warehouse manager was given ample time but failed to explain where the rice was imported and where he paid the tariffs and taxes for it.
During his visit to the provinces of Zamboanga to direct the distribution of the smuggled rice supplies, the President also directed the turnover of assistance totaling P18.56 million under the Philippine Rural Development Project Investment for Rural Enterprises and Agricultural and Fisheries Productivity (PRDP). I-REAP) from the Department of Agriculture (DA), and DA KADIWA financial grants worth P4 million.
He also oversaw the distribution of assistance worth P120 million under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) “Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantages/Displaced Workers”; P530,000 in DOLE subsistence assistance; and assistance certificates from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. (BFAR).
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