EDITORIAL| Prevent collusion

SEVERAL years ago, the local wharf became controversial when a top official of the Bureau of Customs decided to close down the so-called designated examination area on the pretext that it was not functioning as it should be.

The owner of the place found himself getting the ire of the official after he reported to the agency that during a routine inspection, he found out that what was inside the container was rice, contrary to the declaration of the shipper that the cargo was composed of spare parts of vehicles.

The owner reasoned out that the allegation against him could not have any basis because he was constantly reporting to the agency and that it was only when he made the report about the smuggled rice that he was accused of not doing his job.

Eventually, however, the one owning the area was proven right after the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed the official and several others, while some were only slapped with penalties, after they were found doing anomalies.

Just recently, several officials were reported to be at loggerheads mainly because of the issue on how to go about importing rice. The issue even became a huge point of discussions after one was eventually fired from her post.

Right now, the latest development is that the private sector will be allowed to import cheaper rice to augment the buffer stock of the country especially during the months when local production is at its lowest.

The intention is laudable mainly because rice imported is usually cheaper than the prices of local harvest, although the government must balance the impact of this process on local farmers and consumers.

However, in some instances, people try to make money out of anything and that rice importation is among the ways. Smuggling rice usually is a big business in ports and often top government officials are involved. Smuggling of any kind can never prosper without the collusion with those who know the processes.

Posted in Opinion