A group of consumers claimed that Harbour Center Port Terminal Inc. was allegedly storing rice at its warehouses, without permits from the National Food Authority.
National Coalition of Filipino Consumers spokesman BenCy Ellorin said his group received information that warehouses of HCPTI were keeping tons of NFA rice without accreditation from the NFA.
“The National Food Authority should immediately conduct a probe because this is a clear violation of government rules. Under the government regulations, only NFA-accredited warehouses are allowed to store NFA rice,” Ellorin said.
HCPTI has yet to issue an statement about the allegation.
Ellorin said hoarding of NFA rice was a violation of the Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act Law and was punishable by five to 15 years of imprisonment.
The consumer group also alleged that HCPTI was being used by groups to manipulate the price of the staple.
“This is one area the NFA should look into. Aside from looking into the possibility of the HCPTI illegally storing NFA rice, a deeper probe should be simultaneously conducted to find out if the HCPTI is involved in the smuggling or hoarding,” Ellorin said.