Wednesday July 18, 2018

Inter-agency committee meeting on 'fake rice' set

THE Davao City Council has invited concerned officials on Wednesday to further thresh out the possibility that the contaminated rice came from the illegally imported rice that has been auctioned out several months back.

Invited are the National Food Authority, the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Authority, and the Bureau of Customs.

Davao City Councilor Mary Joselle Villafuerte and Councilor Marissa Abella, in the Pulong Pulong ni Pulong (PPP) media forum on Tuesday, said the inter-agency committee meeting aims to clear speculations and get updates on the investigation.

Villafuerte said one of the questions they would ask to the customs is that if they have allowed other agencies to check on the auctioned smuggled rice.

"We will ask the Bureau of Customs tomorrow if did they allow the DA or the DOH to be present during the auction and were they given the chance to auction the rice," Villafuerte said.

She said the food safety act itself gives a veil of protection on the rice imports.

"The food safety act itself it says that rice they get from countries comply with safety regulations so I don't think that we are buying rice from China," Villafuerte said.

Villafuerte added that the smuggled rice should not be auctioned or there should have been another way to treat the smuggled rice.

She added, "I think we only buy rice from Thailand or Vietnam. So I think even the mere act of conducting an auction with rice produced from the country that does not meet our regulation. Maybe, we need to look into that kung dapat bang i-auction or there should just do something else with these smuggled rice instead of selling it for a cheaper price and instead they end up being alleged fake rice."

Villafuerte said they are closely following that lead and that they don't have a single idea and that they need to cooperate with the Bureau of Customs.

Villafuerte hoped that transparency of their committee meeting would somehow encourage the public not to panic since they would also ask for safety guidelines and recommendations from NFA, DA and DOH how to deal the fake rice issue. (KVC)