Bill seeks higher sanctions on rice and corn hoarders

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Saturday, August 16, 2014


A MEASURE seeking higher penalties for suspected rice or corn holder has been filed in the House of Representatives.

Tarlac Representative Susan Yap said that House Bill 4677 declares rice and corn hoarding and profiteering during calamities or emergencies as economic sabotage.

"In order to protect the poor who are disproportionately affected by calamities, the bill shall amend the Price Act and address the identified policy gaps," Yap said.

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The measure sanctions rice or corn hoarders or profiteers by imprisonment for a period of not more than 20 years and a fine of not more than P5 million.

"When the acts of rice or corn hoarding and profiteering are committed on the occasion of any calamity, disaster or any emergency declared by the President, they shall be deemed equivalent to economic sabotage and punishable by reclusion perpetua and criminal liability shall be attaché to its president, chief operating officer or manager," the bill stated.

It also stated in the measure that hoarded rice or corn shall be confiscated and forfeited in favor of the government.

The lawmaker said that under the bill, an Anti Rice or Corn Hoarding and Profiteering Task Force shall be established in every province, city and municipality to monitor the inventory level of all rice or corn mills, warehouses and stockhouses to determine their respective monthly stocks of rice or corn.

An inventory report of every monitoring activity shall be rendered by the task force to the implementing agency concerned, not later than 10 days from its conclusion.

Yap said that the refusal to allow the task force or its duly authorized representatives to conduct monitoring activity in an establishment shall be prima facie evidence of the act of rice or corn hoarding and profiteering being perpetrated.

Under the measure, the task force shall be composed of the local chief executive of the local government unit concerned as chairperson, one representative from the provincial, city field, branch office of the implementing agency concerned, one representative from the farmer’s sector, one representative from the local consumers organization group, and the local chief of police as members.

The owner, operator or management of every rice or corn mill, warehouse or stockhouse is required to submit to the task force a duly certified and sworn monthly report of its inventory of rice or corn stocks. (Sunnex)

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