BOC eyes to donate seized ₱42-M rice for national gov't programs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — The Bureau of Customs-Port of Zamboanga (BOC-POZ) on Saturday said the imported rice worth ₱42 million that it seized early this month could be used by the national government for some of its programs.

BOC-POZ chief Benny Lontok said they have already submitted the recommendation to the BOC central office.

"Ang recommendation po although subject sa approval ni Commissioner and Secretary of Finance, idu-donate po yata sa government program – I don’t know po kung Kadiwa or sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), pero iyon po ay pinag-uusapan pa," said Lontok in a forum.

[Translation: Although it is still subject for approval by the Commissioner and Secretary of Finance, the recommendation is to donate for government program – I don't know if it's for Kadiwa or for the DSWD, but that's still being discussed.]

The BOC-POZ issued an order of forfeiture on Sept. 1 after authorities found that the 42,180 sacks of rice in a warehouse in Brgy. San Jose Gusu in Zamboanga City were not covered by the requisite sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance from the Bureau of Plant Industry.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. earlier issued Executive Order No. 39 that puts a price ceiling on rice to cushion the price surge on the food staple caused by hoarding and price manipulation.

Last month, the BOC discovered imported rice worth more than ₱1 billion in separate warehouses in Bulacan.