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BOC eyes donating seized smuggled rice to Kidapawan farmers

File photo shows smuggled rice inside a container van seized by the Bureau of Customs.
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is looking at the possibility of donating seized smuggled rice to the farmers of Kidapawan City in North Cotabato.

Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina said they are checking their stocks after receiving information that there are some 10 container vans of smuggled rice and if they may be given to the farmers.

“We are checking our stocks all over the country, the seized rice, if these could be donated,” he added.

The BOC chief said that aside from checking the stocks, another matter that they would have to verify is if the rice is fit for human consumption.

Likewise, they would need the approval of Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Cesar Purisima before the seized goods could be donated.

The BOC is currently conducting an inventory on the contents of warehouses to know the items that are for “immediate disposal.”

The action by the bureau is in response to the reports that the farmers in Kidapawan were affected by the El Nino phenomenon.

On Friday, three farmers died in a violent police dispersal of a rally of farmers asking the government to provide them with food, particularly rice, as most of them were going hungry due to the drought.