Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Malolos warehouse raided, feeds component mixed with imported rice

Sec. Mar Roxas at Purefeeds warehouse.

MALOLOS CITY—A rice trader here will soon face multiple charges for mixing old rice stocks which is said to be unfit for human consumption with imported ones.

However, the rice trader said he did nothing wrong and noted that he was even are cooperating with the National Food Authority (NFA) inspections as directed by President Aquino last week.

As this developed, NFA and police officials said more rice warehouses suspected of rice hoarding and profiteering have been identified and will soon be raided.

This came as the Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) cordoned off a rice warehouse at the First Bulacan Industrial City (FBIC) in Barangay Tikay here on Friday and was opened to the media on morning, July 7.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas told journalists that Purefeeds Corp. will be facing multiple charges for violation of laws implemented by the NFA, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Roxas said that Purefeeds Corp., owned by one Jojo Soliman, has been mixing old stocks rice which are deemed unfi t for human consumption with imported rice from Vietnam. “They are selling adulterated rice,” Roxas said noting that old stock rice served as “extender” to imported rice.

Roxas and the NFA represented by its Administrator Arthur Juan reported that a total of 32,000 bags of rice were seized at the Purefeeds warehouse here. However, sources said the total inventory at the said warehouse is about 60,000 bags.

Roxas clarified that the 32,000 bags he mentioned earlier is a result of initial inventory. Roxas also said that there is a possibility that rice mixed and repacked by Purefeeds have been distributed to the market. He said that NFA will soon file charges against Purefeeds, and if found guilty, their license to trade rice might be terminated.
Jojo Soliman, Purefeeds owner
For his part, Soliman told PromdiNEWS that his family has been trading rice for over 50 years. He said that he himself has been in the business for 25 years and started rice importation 15 years ago. “We have done nothing wrong, there is nothing illegal in our operation,” Soliman said. He added that they have been cooperating with the NFA in the implementation of its “visitorial function.”

He expressed disappointment over the seeming trial by publicity against them. “This is supposed to be a regular inspection,” he said. The same was affirmed by NFA Administrator Arthur Juan who also said that he respects the comments of Soliman.

Juan noted that once the case is filed in court, they will follow what the law requires. Dino Balabo