Gov’t intensifies drive vs hoarders, profiteers

Customs agents on Monday discovered suspected smuggled rice and sugar during a surprise inspection of a warehouse in Caloocan City, the Office of the Press Secretary announced.

In a press release by the OPS, it said that operatives of the Bureau of Customs swooped down on a warehouse at No. 306 Kabatuhan Street along Deparo Road in Caloocan City and found hundreds of bags of alleged smuggled rice and sugar.

Armed with a Letter of Authority, operatives of the Bureau of Customs found the warehouse containing the contraband agricultural products.

The OPS said the warehouse is allegedly owned by Melissa Chua and Benito Chua. It was not immediately known how the two Chuas are related.

OPS said the Customs agents “forcibly opened” the warehouse after the owners and caretaker refused to cooperate with the BoC inspection team.

BoC also confiscated the repacking machines that were being used to repack imported rice and sugar to make it appear that these were locally procured by the warehouse owners, according to the OPS.

Last Saturday, four warehouses in Guiguinto, Bulacan inspected by authorities yielded at least 60,000 bags of suspected hoarded sugar imported from Thailand.

BoC conducted simultaneous operations in sugar warehouses in Deparo, Caloocan City; Balut in Tondo and San Nicolas in Manila; Rosales, Pangasinan; San Fernando, Pampanga; Ibaan, Batangas and Davao.

Because of the huge volume of sugar discovered by BoC, the OPS said it made Malacañang “conclude” that the “sugar shortage is artificial.”

The OPS alleged that the sugar shortage was “about by the hoarding of sugar traders who wanted to rake in huge profits from the sudden spike in sugar prices.”

Meanwhile, the OPS announced that consumers are now enjoying the price drop of sugar to P70 per kilo.

Reports reaching Malacañang showed that owners of supermarket and grocery chains have acceded to the request of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for them to bring down the price of sugar to P70 per kilo, from a high of P90 to P110 per kilo.

The President commended the selfless response from these businessmen who know when to cut down their profits for the sake of Filipino consumers.

“This is a classic display of the Filipino spirit of bayanihan and love of country. It is good to know that consumers are now enjoying the price-drop of sugar in the leading groceries and supermarkets,” Marcos said.

Last week, Marcos had a meeting in Malacañang with the owners of Robinsons Supermarket, SM Supermarket and Puregold Supermarket where they all agreed to the suggested retail price of P70 per kilo of sugar.

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