DA urged to probe 'fake rice'

Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2017 04:03 PM

Groups Bantay Bigas, AMIHAN and Gabriela urge President Rodrigo Duterte to address rice issues. Carolyn Bonquin, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A rice monitoring group on Monday urged the government to fund the investigation on the alleged prevalence of "fake rice" in several markets to put consumers' minds at peace.

Bantay Bigas spokesperson Zenaida Soriano said they understand that research would be costly but stressed that research-backed findings are vital to resolve the issue that began last year.

"Para maresolba, gobyerno dapat maglabas ng pag-aaral," Soriano said. "Gastusan na para mapanatag ang consumers. Delikado kung totoong may fake rice."

Meanwhile, Cathy Estavillo, Secretary General of the Amihan Peasant Women group, said the issue on "fake rice" would only stop if the country would halt rice importation.

"Mahihinto issue kung walang export. Sabi nila, galing sa labas ng bansa 'yon. Hinahamon namin ang DA, para mawala ang fake news, ihinto ang import ng bigas," Estavillo said.

In a text message, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said his office has not yet received any fake rice samples for testing despite a P5,000 reward he offered for those who could prove fake rice exists. 

"I appreciate Bantay Bigas' advocacy of no importation but even if we could supply the needed rice requirement of the country, we still have to bring in about 850,000 metric tons every year because of our commitment on MAV (minimum access volume)," he added.