By Mortz C. Ortigoza
ROSALES – The whistle blower from Abono Party-list who exposed alleged big time rice smuggler Davidson Tan- Bangayan calls for the immediate filling of the government of criminal cases and his eventual arrest.
“During the time of former President Gloria M. Arroyo his name has already cropped out in the media. We just do not know his involvement in smuggling during the administration of then president Joseph Estrada. Then his name has been heard again on smuggling activities during the time of President Benigno Aquino III. I pity the Filipino farmers,” Abono Party chair Rosendo So deplored in Filipino.
So, who is also the president of Samahang Industriyang Agrikultura (Sinag), said that Tan-Bangayan, a Chinese Filipino who is from Davao City, used the licenses of farmers’ cooperatives to smuggle rice from Vietnam and Thailand.
“He bribes each cooperative with 200 cavans of rice so its officials relent for him to use their license to import rice,” he said.
Consequently, So said, the members of cooperatives no longer plant palay because they are contented with the arrangement given by Tan.
The Sinag chairman said that he discovers the appalling P7 Billion a year racket of Tan-Bangayan when he compared the records of rice importation from other countries and their records when they arrived in the country.
“The importation of rice from other countries like Vietnam and Thailand that enter the country in 2012 was 1.5 million metric tons (MT) or 30 million cavans of rice as reflected on the records of the Department of Agriculture. 800,000 MT has been lost. That 800,000 MT was 16 million bags of the staple already. A basis for computation on the loss of revenues on the part of the government,” he stressed.
He explained that if the 16 million cavan plus would be multiplied at P900 per bag then multiplied by the tariff per cavan at P450, the controversial P7 billion a year that deprives the government comes out.
The chairman of the Abono Party-list said that the most affected sector on the unabated rice smuggling are the Filipino farmers whose produce could no longer compete with the smuggled rice being sold by traders in the market.
So said smuggled rice cost only P903 per cavan where Tan-Bangayan sells by P1,400 or P1,450 per cavan less than what the local traders sold for P1,500 per bag..
He explained that rice millers find it more profitable to buy the staple from Tan since they do not have to mill the palay and package the rice in the bag.