MANILA - Some P300 million worth of smuggled rice was confiscated in Bulacan, police said Thursday.
Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr., spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the PNP and Bureau of Customs (BOC) found around 124,807 sacks of illegally imported rice in seven warehouses in Bulacan during a random inspection.
The discovery came amid the country's rice supply woes.
The PNP said 801 warehouses all over the country with a total holding capacity of 7.2 million sacks were inspected, but contained only 1,059,729 sacks during the inspection.
Among the warehouses inspected, 168 were in Central Luzon, 137 in the Cagayan Valley Region, and 139 in the Ilocos Region. The rest were located in other parts of the country.
Two warehouses in Metro Manila were also inspected, 40 in the Cordilleras, 59 in Western Mindanao and 75 in the Bicol region.
The PNP inspected rice warehouses upon the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte to crack down on rice hoarding and smuggling, which has led to an artificial shortage in rice supply.
“This will tell the hoarders and the cartels that you can run but you cannot hide. The long arms of the law will eventually catch up on you especially these economic saboteurs,” Durana said.
Durana said the BOC and the Department of Trade and Industry will file criminal cases against alleged hoarders believed to be involved in smuggling the seized rice.
If proven guilty, their import license will be revoked permanently.