Duterte: Rice smugglers face death

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Sunday, January 5, 2014


DAVAO CITY -- Should rice smuggling in the city worsen, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he might instead resort to “killing” these smugglers.

“Kamong mga smugglers, pangita mo'g laing lugar asa ninyo na ilaglag nang inyong smuggled goods. Ayaw diri kay mahibaw-an taka nga rice dealer, rice trader ka, una-una naa koy visitorial rights (You, smugglers, should find other place for your smuggled goods. Don’t ship them here. Once I've learned you’re a rice dealer or a rice trader, I will exercise my visitorial powers),” he said in his Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa show aired Sunday morning.

Visitorial powers allow a regulator to inspect, examine, and supervise the affairs of a specific entity.

“Icheckpoint ta ka ingnan nako ang police, pagkahuman bisitahon nako imong warehouse, tan-awon nako imong electricity connections. Tan-awon nako ang structural sa inyong bodega. Unya ingnan nako ang BIR nga tan-awa ninyo ang libro. Ug di ka pa gyud muundang, patyon ta ka. Simple as that. Kasabot mo? Patyon ta ka (I will personally visit your warehouse. See your electricity connections, its warehouse structures. I will even seek information from the BIR. If you fail to desist from smuggling, I will kill you),” he added.

Duterte cited a certain David Tan, who allegedly is into rice smuggling.

A report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer claimed that “a Goliath in rice smuggling has cornered the trade in this grain by plying Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials and rank-and-file employees with cash gifts that have amounted to P6 billion over the last two years.”

The “Goliath” was identified as a certain Mr. David Tan.

The report cited at least two top bureau officials (who get P10,000 to P20,000 each per container), at least one major port official (P5,000 to P10,000 per container), and more than a dozen desk employees whose signatures (P1,000 per container) were needed in the release papers of the smuggled rice.

With the estimates of an average of 1,000 TEU or six-meter equivalent unit containers a week (a container can load 510 cavans of rice), the weekly take could reach P37 million to P62 million.

In the last two years since Tan reportedly monopolized rice smuggling in the country, the report said that kickbacks had reached between P3.85 billion and P6.45 billion.

“I want smuggling of rice in my city stop. Naa pa gani musulod isa ka sako and I will trace kung kinsa gani tung naka pirma,” Duterte said.

He said he will do everything just to end the alarming problem on rice smuggling in Davao, since the National Government asks him to do so.

Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares personally called up Duterte December last year, asking for his help regarding the prolific rice smuggling in the country, with Davao City as one of the port of entry.

Duterte said Henares once again called him this year.

He said he will call for a conference with the BIR, Bureau of Customs, Philippine Coast Guard, and Maritime Police, among others, to discuss the proliferation of rice smuggling in the city. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 06, 2014.

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