Senators on Sunday called for a clampdown on rice smuggling and abusive practices of some rice traders as they sought better mechanisms to protect small and poor farmers.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go sought to stop the exploitative practices of some rice traders who take advantage of the vulnerabilities of many Filipino rice farmers. He was specifically referring to a cooperative in Tarlac allegedly involved in rice smuggling.
Go said he had asked the National Bureau of Investigation to probe these reports and hold those involved accountable.
The senator recounted a Senate hearing back in 2013 when President Rodrigo Duterte, then Davao City mayor, was invited as a resource person to talk about the issue of rice smuggling. He accompanied the President and saw how determined the then Davao local executive was on going after rice smugglers.
Go also asked government to prioritize the welfare of small farmers, adding that his office is always open to listen to them.
To further safeguard and promote the agriculture sector, Go is pushing for the creation of effective mechanisms to protect the welfare of small farmers and other agricultural workers, especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Go also cited his participation in a hearing conducted by the Committee on Agriculture on Thursday, October 22, where he emphasized the importance of the agricultural sector and its contributions towards economic recovery.
Meanwhile, Go commended the efforts of the Department of Agriculture in supporting small farmers and promoting agri-preneurship as viable livelihood source for Filipinos amid the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.