A goverment composite team yesterday arrested two Iligan City-based rice traders, including a Taiwanese national, for allegedly hoarding 40,000 bags of rice.
Arrested were Filipino Chinese businesswoman Sonia C. Payan and Taiwanese businessman Jhonny D. Tan while their rice stocks which were kept in four warehouses in Iligan City were confiscated.
In his official Facebook page account, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said charges of hoarding will be filed against the two traders.
Acting National Food Authority (NFA) Administrator Tomas Escarez, meanwhile, said the two traders were the first to be arrested in the intensified campaign against rice hoarding ordered by President Rody Duterte.
Members of the Sub-Committee on Rice Hoarding, Cartel and Smuggling which include the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the Dept. of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Philippine Coast Guard, the Department of Labor and Employment and the NFA, swooped down on the four warehouses following reports of alleged hoarding by the two grains traders.
Escarez added that the documents in the possession of the two traders were inconsistent with their stock inventory and appeared spurious, prompting the NFA to order the seizure.
The NFA adjudication officer Sam Dimaporo and chairperson of the Sub-Committee NFA Director Diane Silva of Region 10, together with ARD Buerano and all Region 10 PMs conducted the adjudication proceedings.