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UNTV EXCLUSIVE: DA, NFA launch crackdown vs. rice hoarders; inspect warehouses in Bulacan

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Saturday, September 1st, 2018


BULACAN, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA) launched the first joint operation against rice hoarding by raiding a row of warehouses in Marilao, Bulacan Friday night (August 31).

The operation, spearheaded by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and NFA Administrator Jason Aquino, discovered over 100,000 sacks of imported rice in one warehouse and about 50,000 sacks of rice in another.

According to Piñol, the owner of the rice storage incurred violations of NFA standards for warehouses.

“Here at Fedcor compound in Marilao, Bulacan it is apparent that three big warehouses, unmarked, would have an estimated 100,000 bags of rice, imported rice. This is already a violation because warehouses supervised by the NFA are supposed to have billboards announcing that these are NFA warehouses. The first warehouse that we opened contained rice about 50,000 bags,” he said during an operation exclusively covered by UNTV.

The Agriculture Secretary said the operation is part of the DA’s “Report a Hoarder” campaign, which he first announced earlier on Friday (August 31) which offers a cash reward of P250,000 for every report about hoarding activity that is verified and validated.

“We are expecting that we will be able to send the message across. This will be done nationwide. Now that DA and NFA have joined hands in implementing this campaign, we expect successes along the way,” he added.

Secretary Piñol said the campaign will be done nationwide in view of stabilizing the supply of rice in the market.

He warned traders and dealers to release their stocks and do away with hoarding as both agencies are determined to run after them.

“Better release your stocks now because the moment we inspect your warehouses and we see your stock, the government could confiscate your stocks and that could lead to a lot of penalties,” the Secretary warned. – Rey Pelayo / Marje Pelayo

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Over 800 members denounce ties with Kadamay in Bulacan

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Members of Pinagkakaisang Mamamayan Tungo sa Kaayusan (PMTK) 

BULACAN, Philippines – More than 800 individuals in the town of Pandi have denounced their membership from the militant group Kalipunang Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).

They formed a new group which they named Pinagkakaisang Mamamayan Tungo sa Kaayusan (PMTK) for reasons that they couldn’t tolerate Kadamay’s alleged twisted ideals.

In particular, they are opposing Kadamay’s collection of P100 to P300 fee every time they would go out on the streets to protest. They admit that they too suffered harassment and threats.

“Kapag sumama naman kami sa rally hinihingan kami ng P200 pang rally po namin tapos gutom pa kami minsan,” said PMTK vice president Lorenzo Opalsa.

“Panay hingi ng kontribusyon, magrally ng magrally. Pinapagawa sa mga miyembro kung ano-ano sinasabi, ganito mag-aral,tapos ngayon mag-aral ng mataas pa hanggang sa maging NPA ka na.  Ang NPA na po ang pinag-aaralan nila hindi na po maganda. Kaya mga tao natatakot sa kanila,” said Pandi 3 president Apolinario Jocson.

The group said the New People’s Army (NPA) were recruiting them to study and serve under the rebel group.

“Pinapapasok nila po kami ng aral,pinag-aaral po kami na mga miyembro ng aralan, para po sa komunista po.  Malakas ang loob nila. Lagi po nila kaming hinaharas, dahil alam po namin na meron pong nasa likuran nila,” added PMTK Leader Jeffrey Aris.

Kadamay denied the allegations saying they were only collecting P5.00 fees and not P100.

“Hindi totoo na kami ay naniningil ng 150, 200, 300, kada rally. Wala kaming sinisingil. Mayroon kaming butaw sa organization, five pesos,pero di nakakabayad dahil maralita nga yan,” said Kadamay leader Gloria Bea Arellano.

Arellano insists that they have never been members of the NPA.

“Hindi miyembro ng Kadamay ang NPA. Laging ikinakabit nila ito dahil kami ay progresibong organization, at kinikritic namin ang maling ginagawa ng gobyerno,” argued Arellano.

In March 2017, Kadamay illegally occupied government housing units in Pandi.

Security has been tight since then to make sure the safety of residents nearby are protected. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nestor Torres)

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SRP in rice to take effect Oct. 27; fancy brand names banned

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – In his social media post on Monday (October 22), Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol explained that the supposed implementation of the Suggested Retail Price (SRP) in rice on October 23 has been moved to October 27 as industry stakeholders requested three more days to prepare.

Aside from adjustments in pricing, Piñol added that “misleading” rice names like “Senandomeng,” “Super Angelica,” and “Yummy Rice” will be replaced with proper varietal identification.

Rice industry stakeholders are now preparing the signages in retail outlets to comply with the proper pricing and labeling as agreed in Secretary Piñol’s final consultation meeting with industry stake holders at the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday.

Consequently, the following agreements on the SRP and rice retailing reforms were reached, according to the Secretary:

1 – Distinct identification of “imported” and “Filipino” rice will be imposed;

2 – Price rice identification will only be as “regular milled,” “well-milled,” “premium” and “special rice;”

3 – Fancy brand names will be banned. This includes names like “Mindoro Dinorado,” “Senandomeng,” “Super Angelica,” “Yummy Rice” and “Double Diamond” to curb mislabelling and deception in the marketing of rice;

4 – SRPs will be implemented as follow:

Imported “Well-Milled Rice” (25% Broken) – P39/kg;

Imported “Premium” rice – P43/kg;

Philippine Rice or “Regular Milled” – P39/kg;

“Well Milled” – P44/kg

“Premium Rice” – P47/kg.

Meanwhile, there will be no SRP for Special Rice. These are Cordillera Heirloom Rice, Organic Brown, Red and Black Rice, real Dinorado, Milagrosa, Jasponica, Dona Maria, Hinumay, Malido, Kamoros, Malagkit and other indigenous rice varieties.

“A set of guidelines is expected to be published for 15 days prior to enforcement of penalties and sanctions against the SRP violators,” Piñol said.

“Penalties and sanctions would include cancellation of NFA licenses, stiff fines and criminal charges,” he added.

Secretary Piñol clarified that “the SRP will initially cover Metro Manila and Suburbs only, including cities and towns in the Greater Manila Area.” – Marje Pelayo

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DA expects rice prices to stabilize before end of October

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

(File photo)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is confident that the price of rice in the country will go down in the following weeks due to the arrival of imported rice.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said the season to harvest palay has also begun, which is seen to elevate rice production.

 “When do we expect the stabilization of the price of rice in the market? It’s starting in the market actually. By the end of this October, last week of October, we will be instituting reforms in the grains rice market industry,” he said.

Piñol also said that starting next week, the public will be able to determine the rice variant that were imported and locally-produced.

Rice labels will also be limited to four, namely: regular milled (P38/kg), well milled (P40-42/kg), special rice and premium rice (P44/kg).

The suggested retail price for rice is also expected to be released by the National Food Authority (NFA) Council on October 18.

 “The exact pricing of SRPs will be determined on October 18, when we will be meeting for the final time with the stakeholders of the rice industry kasama na ang mga farmers, traders, millers and even the rice retailers,” Piñol said.

 The Agriculture Secretary, meanwhile, clarified reports on the unimpeded process of rice importation.

He said restrictions will be lifted but a set of guidelines and process will still be followed.

The easier rice importation is in line with President Duterte’s order to government agencies to ensure there is over or enough supply of rice in the country.

“The President never used the unimpeded importation because that would be a disservice and injustice to the Filipino farmers,” Piñol concluded. — Rosalie Coz

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