Piñol wants task force to inspect rice warehouses
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Wednesday he will recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the creation of a task force that will inspect all rice warehouses in the country.
Piñol said the Task Force will be composed of members from the Department of Agriculture, National Food Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Philippine Statistics Authority, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Customs, and the Philippine National Police.
“I will ask the President to empower the Task Group to open and inspect all grains warehouses all over the country, including those suspected to contain smuggled rice,” said Piñol.
Piñol said the inspection of warehouses will start within this quarter.
“We will do it within the quarter. It’s going to be a continuing inventory. The NFA warehouses will also be inspected,” he said.
“This is not a knee-jerk reaction. I’ve been thinking of this for so long. If you remember I’ve been saying all along that our data is not organized. Let’s say for example, who can tell me our actual inventory of rice stocks all over the country? No one can tell, not even the PSA,” he added.
Piñol said that to establish a credible stock position, the government should also factor in the smuggled rice that enters the country.
“That’s why we need to inspect the warehouses, all warehouses in the country because that’s the only way,” he said.
In his Facebook post, Piñol said the task force aims to prove there is enough rice in the country.
The group will also need to establish the actual rice stock situation so the government could come up with the correct statistics which could be the basis of a sound agricultural planning, especially when it comes to the country’s rice production program.
“Hopefully, the Task Force will be able to give us an accurate baseline information and a very clear picture of the rice industry in the country,” Piñol said.