Senator Bam Aquino calls on the government to apply the full force of the law on hoarders of rice, garlic and other market products, saying they must be severely punished for their illegal acts that resulted in sudden prices increases.
The senator made the pronouncement even as he lauded Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan for their successful crackdown on several rice hoarders recently.
“Hoarders of rice, garlic and other products must be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Their illegal act has resulted in higher prices, placing additional burden on our consumers,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship.
“The recent success against hoarders should serve as warning to those who are still doing it. The government is serious in going after those who compromise the public’s interest for their own profit,” the senator added.
Aquino lauded Roxas and Pangilinan for personally spearheading the government’s campaign against rice hoarders.
Recently, the two government officials led the inspection and raid of several warehouses where they discovered that NFA rice were being repacked and sold as commercial rice.
The campaign led to the confiscation of an estimated 4,000 metric tons of rice and the filing of charges against a company for violation of Presidential Decree No. 4 for diversion of price and price manipulation under the Price Act.
“If found guilty, hoarders face five to 15 years imprisonment under the Price Act,” said Aquino.
Aquino said the passage of the Fair Competition Act of 2014 will end monopolies, cartels and other trade practices that affect businesses, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The senator stressed that the bill’s passage is long overdue since the Philippines is one of only few countries that don’t have a competition policy that will protect its consumers and private industries.
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