The Department of Finance (DoF) is open to donating 2,500 tons of white rice seized by the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to assist flood victims.
Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua confirmed he has brought the proposal up to Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who he said is “open to it.”
“He (Mr. Dominguez) has no objection. I will consult the Secretary kasi (because) we are looking at how it can be operated,” Undersecretary Chua also said on Tuesday in a hearing with the Committee on Ways and Means.
Quirino Representative Dakila Carlo E. Cua, who chairs the panel, raised the proposal after the BoC said decision to auction or donate smuggled rice need the approval of the Finance Department.
Mr. Cua had earlier reached Customs Commissioner Isidro S. Lapeña to have the confiscated smuggled rice at the Manila International Container Port donated to around 342,000 families affected by typhoon “Karding.”
“He (Mr. Lapeña) said he will consider and (then) I saw on the news, Customs said it’s up to the DoF to decide, so can you support us in convincing the Secretary that maybe we can donate,” Mr. Cua asked the Finance undersecretary.
Commenting also on the recent rice shortage, Mr. Chua highlighted the need to pass the Rice Tariffication bill. — Charmaine A. Tadalan