The National Food Authority (NFA) has admitted it has no power to run after traders “misclassifying” imported rice, a practice earlier reported to be prevalent in Taytay and in northen Palawan.
Osmundo Guinto Jr., NFA Palawan provincial manager, claimed that the regulatory powers of the NFA was already removed Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Law.
“Nawala na ‘yong power namin para i-summon sila, imbestigahan sila and everything na kung sakaling may mga ginawa silang kasalanan ay matatanggalan sila ng lisensya. Ngayon hindi na kami nagli-lisensya, tinanggal na ‘yon ng rice liberalization law,” he said.
He added that only the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) can intervene on the problem by invoking the Consumers’ Act of the Philippines or RA 7394.
“Tungkol dyan sa misclassification ng bigas na nanggagaling sa ibang bansa na ginagawa nilang local products ng Palawan, usually ang tumitingin dyan ay DTI dahil may tinatawag tayong consumers act,” Guinto said..
He said concerns on traders misinforming consumers about their products should be referred to the DTI.
“Normally, noong wala pa ang Rice Liberalization Law, ‘yong RA 11203, ang NFA ay may batas diyan na nagbabawal sa kanila kasi ‘yon ay unang-una adulteration, pangalawa ay misclassification kaya lang noong ipinasa na ang Rice Liberalization Law, natanggal na ‘yong enforcement power ng NFA. Hindi na namin hinuhuli ‘yan dahil wala na kaming enforcement power,” he said.
Guinto said the mandate of the NFA is to secure buffer stock to supply rice in times of calamity and emergencies.
Earlier, the Palawan Provincial Board vowed to investigate the alleged practice of some traders to repack imported rice.
Board Member Juan Antonio Alvarez said he has information that imported rice is being repacked to look like locally-produced and sold at a lower price which was said coming from the south and brought to Taytay for distribution.