NFA WARNS AGAINST FAKE RICE IMPORT PERMITS

The National Food Authority (NFA) has issued a stern warning against individuals or entities using fake or fabricated rice Import Permits (IPs) following a report that some unscrupulous individuals or parties are selling spurious permits allegedly issued by NFA under the 2017 minimum access volume (MAV) private sector rice import scheme.

NFA administrator Jason Aquino warned these parties to stop their nefarious activities as the government will apply the full force of the law against anyone found guilty of such acts.

The Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) wrote NFA on December 22, 2017 to verify the veracity of three Import Permits (IPs) allegedly issued to PITC by NFA, which they claim as fake or fabricated because “PITC has not applied for any rice import permits with NFA and neither authorized any party to apply for and in behalf of PITC for such permits for 2017.”

Upon verification, the NFA found that the alleged IPs were indeed spurious. In a letter-reply dated December 27, 2017, the NFA assured PITC that an investigation on the matter will be conducted.

The suspicious IPs are as follows:

Import Permit No.   Quantity (MT)   Port of Discharge    Date Issue      Validity Date

MAVCSQ2017-01-819    5,000.00               Davao                     August 24, 2017   August 24, 2018

MAVCSQ2017-01-820    7,000.00              Cebu                       August 24, 2017   August 24, 2018

MAVCSQ2017-01-993  30,000.00              -                            October 10, 2017    October 10, 2018

 

Aside from the fact that the NFA did not issue any of the above IPs under the 2017 MAV Rice Importation Program, the agency also clarified that the scheduled arrival of rice imports under Phase 1 of the 2017 MAV was set for December 20, 2017 to February 28, 2018, and for Phase 2, imports should arrive between June 1 and August 31, 2018.

“Also, based on the NFA Council-approved Guidelines, the Import Permit under the 2017 MAV Rice Importation Program has a validity period of only 15 calendar days from the date of issuance and not for one year as specified in the spurious IPs,” the NFA said.

The PITC said the fake IPs are being offered or sold by unscrupulous parties to traders and importers.

Republic Act 10845 or the “Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016” classifies under Section 3 large-scale agricultural smuggling as Economic Sabotage. This includes “rice, with a minimum amount of ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00), as valued by the Bureau of Customs (BOC), committed through any of the following acts: (a) Importing or bringing into the Philippines without the required import permit from the regulatory agencies; (b) Using import permits of persons, natural or juridical, other than those specifically named in the permit; and (c) Using fake, fictitious or fraudulent import permits or shipping documents.”

Under the section on penalties, Section 4 of RA 10845 specifies the penalty of life imprisonment and fine of twice the value of the smuggled agricultural product in addition to payment of taxes, duties and other charges against anyone found guilty of economic sabotage.

The penalty of imprisonment of 17-20 years, and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural product plus taxes, duties and other charges due “shall be imposed on the officers of dummy corporations, nongovernment organizations, associations, cooperatives, or single proprietorships who knowingly sell, lend, lease, assign, consent or allow the unauthorized use of their import permits for purposes of smuggling.”

Any person or entity found guilty under the anti- agricultural smuggling law shall also suffer the penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification to engage in any business involving importation.

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/rco  

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