Invoking national security, President Duterte has threatened to break open the warehouses filled with hoarded rice and seize the commodity.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the President has vowed to use the full force of the state against traders illegally hoarding rice during a Cabinet meeting last Monday.
“The President, consistent with his pronouncement on the SONA (State-of-the-Nation Address), made it very clear that he would not hesitate to use the entire power of the state to utilize police power, even to order the seizure of hoarded rice in the warehouses of these rice hoarders,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
“He invoked national security in this regard so we warn rice hoarders the the president will use full force of the state and force open the warehouses where the hoarded rice may be found,” he added.
Roque said the President has already obtained intelligence report from authorities about the location of warehouses that contained hoarded rice.
“He has identified where these warehouses. He has given them notice and that if they persist in hoarding, he will break open the warehouses,” he said.
“But it hasn’t reached the point anyway that we have to do that,” he added.
Roque admitted that the President’s latest directive against rice hoarding came amid concerns about the country’s rising inflation. He acknowledged that the price of rice was one of major factors pushing the inflation rate.
“That’s why the President has made it very clear, he will use the full power of the state to break open if need be the warehouses of rice hoarders,” he added. (GK)