Unprocessed rice imports from Cambodia eyed by Philippines

  • Cambodian unprocessed rice eyed for import by Philippines. File Photo

    Asean Business Advisory Council Chair for the Philippines and Go Negosyo founder Jose Maria A. Concepcion III said the Philippines is mulling over importing rice from Cambodia.

    “Cambodia is a big exporter of rice, but it goes through Vietnam for processing,” said Concepcion.

    “Our suggestion is import so that the Philippine companies can process the rice,” he added.

    In a news statement issued by Go Negosyo on Tuesday, Concepcion shared that Cambodian businessmen were receptive to the idea, and even offered technology exchange between the two countries. “Cambodia is very good at growing rice, and we could learn from them,” the Go Negosyo founder added.

    “Agriculture in particular, was revealed as a promising area of cooperation between the two countries. Cambodia produces rice, but Vietnam—which is a major exporter of rice to the Philippines—has the biggest production by hectare,” Go Negosyo said.

    Further, it said that several expansion and export opportunities in Cambodia for Philippine companies were explored during the CEO Roundtable meeting held on the sidelines of the Asean summit in Phnom Penh last November 10.

    The CEO Roundtable meeting was attended by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President George T. Barcelon, LT Group’s Mike Tan, Go Negosyo senior adviser Josephine Romero, and the Philippine winners of the Asean Business Awards 2022.

    Go Negosyo said aside from agriculture, other areas of cooperation that the meeting was able to identify were on housing, digitalization, food security, hospitality, garments manufacturing, business process outsourcing (BPO), and micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) development.

    In his intervention during the event, Marcos stressed the importance of international cooperation to prevent regional food shortage.

    “It has become glaringly clear that there is a dire need to strengthen food security towards self-sufficiency in our region, to increase adaptability and resilience in the face of threats to the global supply chain,” the President said.

    Marcos is the concurrent Agriculture Secretary of the Philippines.

    Meanwhile, during the meeting, the Philippine group invited the Cambodian businessmen to invest in the Philippines and partner with the Philippine businesses.

    “SMEs from the Philippines—namely, FELTA Multimedia, Home Healthlink and Esquire Financing—who were also winners of the Asean Business Awards, said that they are looking for partners to expand both in the Philippines and within Asean. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Cambodian garments industry association commended during the meeting the logistics support from Philippine cargo and mobility facilities, namely Philippine Airlines [PAL],” Go Negosyo said in its statement.

    According to Go Negosyo, the Cambodian businessmen shared that PAL helped them not only with cargo, but also with the transport of the designers and other technical people between the two countries.

    Further, it said that the Philippines and Cambodia are also together in a campaign to get their respective garments exported at zero rates in the United States’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) so that these may be imported by US brands at zero, or near zero duty. Business Mirror.com.ph

  • Philippines keeps Indian rice import tariffs at 35%: Here’s why

  • Move aimed at curbing inflation, cushioning low yields, possible price hike

    • The Philippines is one of the world's biggest importers of rice.
    • Rice is a staple in the Asian country, which has seen spikes in inflation. 
    • The tariff cuts to 35% (from 50%) for rice imports from India extended till end-2022.

    Manila: Why is the Philippines extending the 35% tariff level for rice imports from India (from the original 50%) until end-2022?

    The move was made through an executive order that lowers the tariff rate for rice imported from outside Southeast Asia.

    What triggered the move? A number of reasons, but primarily three: inflation, lower yields, impending price hikes.

    Price of rise has been steadily rising

    In the last two decades, the FAO Rice Price Index (a measure of the monthly change in international rice prices), doubled between the year 2000 and 2020.

    Recently, Philippine inflation spiked to 3-year high as the country’s central bank reported that it accelerated to 5.4 per cent in May — the highest since December 2018 — owing to higher transport cost.

    Lower yields due to climate, economic and geopolitical factors also form part of the reason. Rice is the daily staple of the country’s more than 109.6 million inhabitants (and also of about 3.5 billion people globally).

    As for cartelisation, Thailand and Vietnam have both announced plans to set up a rice supplier group. On May 30, Thailand’s government spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, said Bangkok and Hanoi planned to hike the prices of the grain to double farmers’ income and obtain bargaining power in the international market.

    Thanakorn said that one reasons behind the plan is that food grain prices have been flat for almost 2 decades now even as the production cost has increased.

    Southeast Asia accounts for 40 per cent of the world’s rice exports.

    More affordable rice from India

    Indian rice stays highly competitive in the global market — its 25% broken white rice was quotes at $342 per tonne over the weekend, according to the International Grains Council (IGC).

    The price slid further to $327/tonne on June 8. On the other hand, Vietnam quotes $421 for its 5% broken white rice and Thailand $449 for the same grade.

    Booming rice exports

    The move to keep the tariff cuts could give Philippine consumers a breather from rising inflation.

    This also gives Indian producers a good chance to boost exports.

    M Madan Prakash, President of Agri Commodity Exporters Association was quoted as saying: “Rice exports from India are booming now. We are quoting at least $100 a tonne less than Vietnam and Thailand. China, Vietnam, and the Philippines are purchasing good volumes.”

    He added: “The government in Manila is looking for government-to-government exports since private traders importing rice are selling it at a higher price.”

    Ricebowl status

    Rice is the main food crop in Asia — which includes the world’s two largest producers, China and India, and the three largest exporters, [India, Vietnam and Thailand].

    But as rising demand of the tiny seed hangs in the balance amid environmental challenges, Asean’s rice bowl economy faces new challenges.

    Among the world’s food staples, the amount of rice available for export trade is among the lowest — typically under 10 per cent of global production each year.

    The reason: rice is mostly consumed where it is produced, according to Paul Teng, senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. A shortfall in production could affect the rice security of millions.

    The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that rice production must increase by 5 million tonnes per year to keep up with demand from increasing populations.

    Underinvestment, climate, low yield

    The Philippines suffers from underinvestment in agriculture and is frequented by strong typhoons, making it vulnerable to supply shortfalls.

    In April, with record rainfall, flood alerts were up in at least 6 Philippine regions comprising more than 20 provinces, due to a low-pressure area (LPA) at the tail-end of the so-called “La Niña” phenomenon, which dumped heavy rains on several regions in the country’s east and south-east.

    A March report in the journal Nature warned that Southeast Asia’s “rice bowl” status is under “severe threat”.

    The yield gaps are increasing when farmers are only able to obtain about half the yields they should get from their seeds, the journal reported.

    To narrow yield gaps, the study warns of the urgency for Southeast Asia rice producers to take action “now”, in order for the region remain a major rice bowl for import-dependent countries like Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

    Is there enough rice for everyone?

    Then there’s the bigger picture: the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned that rice production must increase by 5 million tonnes per year to keep up with demand from increasing populations.

    This poses a challenge due to continuing reduction of rice lands, industrial and urbanisation use, declining freshwater resources and farm labour pose hurdles.

    India: the largest rice exporter

    India is the world’s largest rice exporter, accounting for about 40 per cent of global exports. In 2021, rice shipments from the India topped 21.3 million tonnes, including Basmati rice.

    The Philippines imposes a 50 percent duty on rice imports from non-Asean countries, thus giving a most preferred nation (MFN) status to its two Asean neighbours. Given Manila’s recent move, this preferential treatment won't holding for now, at least till the end of the year.

  • Philippine rice imports to hit 2.9 million MT

  • Philippine rice imports to hit 2.9 million MT MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is expected to continue importing rice this year, with shipments expected to reach as much as 2.9 million metric tons (MT). In a report by its Foreign Agriculture Service, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) revised upward its rice import forecast for the Philippines to 2.9 million MT, higher than its earlier projection of 2.5 million MT. The USDA attributed the higher forecast to the “continued strong import pace from Vietnam.” Similarly, the USDA also adjusted upward its milled rice production forecast for the country at 12.4 million MT from the earlier projection of 12.3 million MT. Consumption forecast is also increased to 14.95 million MT from 14.85 million MT. As rice imports continue to rise, the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) warned of a possible decline in palay prices during the coming dry season harvest, citing that rice imports reached 2.98 million MT in 2021. “We will have a supply glut when the farmers start harvesting their dry season crop starting March 2021,” FFF national manager Raul Montemayor said. “Farmers will again suffer from low prices even as the costs of fertilizer, fuel, and other farm inputs remain high. Having a large harvest is meaningless to farmers if it results in low prices for their produce,” Montemayor said. Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the deseasonalized farmgate price of palay registered at P16.65 per kilo from October to December 2021. This was 9.5 percent lower than the P18.39 per kilo farmgate price in the same period the year before. Meanwhile, the FFF also downplayed the impact of the reported increase in rice tariff collections on farmers. Under Republic Act 11598, or the Cash Assistance for Filipino Farmers Act, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is mandated to provide cash transfers to rice farmers tilling two hectares or less until 2024, to be sourced from rice tariffs in excess of P10 billion a year. As tariffs from rice imports reached P19 billion in 2021, this means P9 billion will be given to rice farmers in the form of cash assistance through the Rice Farmers Financial Assistance program. “Tariff collections increased because imports surged, and, as a result, palay prices went down. The P9 billion that will be given to farmers is very small compared to the P60 billion that farmers are losing every year compared to their income before RTL (Rice Tariffication Law) took effect,”Montemayor said. “In addition, one out of every three rice farmers will not get any cash assistance because RA 11598 applies only to farmers tilling two hectares or less,”he said. Moreover, the FFF said the increase in palay production last year did not benefit farmers significantly as half of the incremental harvest came from an expansion in harvested area and only half was due to an improvement in yields. “Overall, output per hectare improved by only 1.6 percent in 2021, equivalent to an additional income of only P1,095 per hectare. This is far off the DA’s unsubstantiated claim that farmers earned P10,000 more per hectare in 2021 despite the increase in fertilizer costs,” Montemayor said. The FFF questioned the effectiveness of the DA’s interventions, noting that the additional palay output of about 665,000 MT in 2021 had a market value of only P11 billion. “We support calls to increase the budget for agriculture, but we must make sure that the money is being spent wisely and effectively. Spending one peso to get back just one peso is not a good way to use scarce government money,”Montemayor said.
  • Weak peso boosts rice tariff collections in 2021

  • Weak peso boosts rice tariff collections in 2021 MANILA, Philippines — Tariffs collected from imported rice posted a double-digit growth last year, partly thanks to a weak peso that offset the impact of falling global prices of the main staple. The Bureau of Customs raised a total of P18.9 billion from rice tariffs in 2021, up 22% year-on-year, the Department of Finance reported Tuesday. The amount collected surpassed the P10 billion mandated to be allocated to the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), a pooled funding under Republic Act 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law earmarked for projects targeted at improving local rice production. Under the law, the government is allowed to redirect in other farm programs any windfall revenues from rice levies during the first six years of the law enacted last year. The law met heavy criticism from agriculture stakeholders as many feared it would impair the livelihood of already-impoverished farmers. On the measure’s first year, part of the P12.3 billion generated under RCEF went to fund cash transfers to poor farmers. The Philippine Statistics Authority estimated that palay (unhusked rice) production increased 1% year-on-year in the final quarter of 2021 to 7.46 million metric tons. Tariff collections rose last year despite a drop in prices of rice. The Food and Agriculture Organization, a UN agency, showed its global rice price index fell 4% year-on-year in 2021.  FAO data showed grain prices have dropped in Thailand and Vietnam, where the Philippines secures the bulk of its imports, last year. Jun Neri, lead economist for the Bank of the Philippine Islands, said the higher collection was “partly due to weak peso”, which nevertheless pushed up the value of rice shipments, the base over which the 35% tariff is collected. “Tariffication works and that funds can be used to improve farmer productivity whereas no revenues prior to Rice Tariffication Law,” Neri said.

    Losses from lower pork tariff hit P4-B

    In the same statement on Tuesday, the DOF said Customs estimates that it had foregone P4 billion in revenues last year as a result of the presidential directives lowering the import tariffs on pork.  For pork imports, the bureau was able to collect P3.75 billion from April 9, 2021 to Jan. 28, 2022 from a total volume of 242 million kilograms. The national government allowed imported pork to surge in local markets in a bid to tame inflation after the African swine fever epidemic battered the local hog industry.
  • Unlimited rice

  • THE statistics are staggering. According to the International Rice Research Institute, the Philippines wastes more than 300,000 tons of rice annually. This translates to a cost of more than P20 million a day, or about P8 billion annually. To put this in the proper perspective, the annual volume of rice wastage is equivalent to a third of rice imports, an issue that is fraught with political, economic and even health considerations. All this because Filipinos, on the average, are said to waste three tablespoons of rice every day.
    But the proposal to ban “unlimited rice” servings in some restaurants, apparently a knee-jerk one, by Sen. Cynthia Villar, seems misplaced. This week, in a Senate hearing on the country’s rice importation and failed attempts to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production, these statistics on rice wastage were again brought up, along with the ill effects of too much rice consumption on the health. Betraying the Big-Brother or draconian tendencies many Filipino politicians have, Villar proposed to stop restaurants from offering “unlimited rice” promotions to their customers. It touched a raw nerve especially on social media, with the senator being the subject of a few memes. On Twitter, parody accounts of local fast-food chains made fun of the proposed “unli-rice ban.” It’s likely a manifestation of Filipinos’ frustrations with the misplaced priorities of some politicos. Indeed, there are bigger problems to tackle than restaurants’ unli-rice promos. As expected, Villar walked back her proposal. Equating unli-rice to wastage is a debatable proposition. Perhaps Villar has not eaten in restaurants offering these promos. Waiters often make it a point to ask customers how many cups of rice they need, and serve rice only when requested. The restaurants, it seems, are aware of the likelihood of wastage, and often use very small cups. Needless to say, these promos are popular. To many working-class Filipinos, it’s perhaps the only luxury they could afford given the rising cost of food, but one that could easily fill their stomachs. Thus, the immediate backlash on the senator. A more sound proposal is Senate Bill 1863 filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in 2013. It sought to penalize not unli-rice promos, but the practice among restaurants of refusing to serve less than a cup of rice, and proposed to fine these establishments up to P100,000. To keen observers of Filipino habit, the wastage happens with those who order more rice than they are able to consume, not with those who are willing to pay for an extra serving. To be sure, the solution to rice wastage is education, not Machiavellian impositions. Villar could instead fund an extensive campaign to curb rice wastage, for instance, by emphasizing the ill effects of a high-carbohydrate diet, among them diabetes and heart disease. To be fair, Villar is advocating more brown rice consumption. A recent Manila Times story notes that brown rice, or “Pinawa” among Tagalogs, is simply unpolished white rice, but has more protein, fiber, good fats, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B9 and E, antioxidants and minerals than white rice. According to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), brown rice can help reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, brown rice also encourages balanced eating — based on testimonial evidence, as gathered by PhilRice consultant Cezar Mamaril, people consume less rice when they eat brown rice. People get their fill sooner, because brown grains weigh heavier. An issue that touchers right at the heart of Filipino culture and lifestyle deserves greater introspection, not knee-jerk thinking. Politicians cannot simply propose to restrict the demand side of rice consumption, just because they find it harder to deal with the supply side.
  • Philippines: Philippines to import 250,000 tonnes of rice in June

  • The Philippines, one of the world's top rice buyers, plans to import 250,000 tonnes of the grain next month, in order to increase stockpiles before the lean harvest season and offset potential crop damage during the typhoon season.

    This has been seen as a good opportunity for rice exporters from Thailand, Vietnam, India and Pakistan. Thailand's National Food Authority (NFA) said will announce the bidding immediately after securing approval from the NFA Council. The first imported rice batches should arrive in late June or early July. The council will also finalise the import terms for up to 805,000 tonnes of rice that local private traders will bring in under an annual quota scheme in order to ensure supply even during the typhoon season. The Philippine Government is shifting from buying rice under government-to-government deals to ensure competitiveness and transparency following accusations that some NFA officials were making money from such deals. The Philippines' storm season typically peaks from October to December with the strongest storms landing in, damaging the country's rice crops. Government stockpiles are just enough to cover eight days of national requirements. Meanwhile, the NFA is mandated to maintain a 15-day buffer stock at any given time and a minimum of 30 days during the lean harvest season from July to September. The Thai government now controls 4.32 million tonnes of state rice stocks and aims to dispose of it all by September this year, given rising rice demand. Of the total, 2.5 million tonnes of low-quality and decaying rice fit only for industrial use will no longer dampen the price of newly harvested rice. If the state succeeds in selling 1.82 million tonnes of quality rice, the state rice stocks will drop sharply to only 2.5 million tonnes. Of the remainder, 2 million tonnes will serve as animal feed and the rest will be used for energy production. The Thai Foreign Trade Department is scheduled to hold an auction for 2 million tonnes in June and another for 500,000 tonnes in July. - VNA  
  • High prices in first quarter keep rice farmers profitable, NFA says

  • RICE FARMERS are estimated to have raised P32 billion from sales of palay, or unmilled rice, in the first quarter, the National Food Authority (NFA) reported yesterday, citing high farmgate prices.

    Workers unload sacks of rice at a warehouse of the National Food Authority (NFA) in suburban Manila on October 7, 4014. -- AFP
    In the first three months of the year, the NFA bought 131,720 bags of rice from farmers nationwide at P17 per kilogram (kg), for a total of P118.5 million According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the cost of palay production averages P12.00/kg. Despite NFA’s buying of unmilled rice, farmers took advantage of the high prices offered by private traders ranging at P18.00 -- P22.00/kg versus the NFA’s support price of P17.00/kg plus incentives. NFA Administrator Jason Laureano Y. Aquino said that the NFA buys unmilled rice from farmers in an effort to stabilize rice prices. “It is the mandate of the NFA to stabilize the price of rice in the market and we know that NFA serves as the benchmark for the price of palay,” he said in a statement yesterday. “It influences the buying price of private traders to go higher than the support price for them to corner the volume they need. Without NFA as a stabilizer, the traders can dictate the price of palay, short-changing the farmers whenever they can,” Mr. Aquino added. “We don’t base our performance solely on how much we have procured because we are limited by the government support price of P17.00/kg. We cannot go beyond that. What is important is that the farmers are enjoying much higher prices from private traders and that is good. The NFA’s presence is meant to stabilize the price of palay, not to directly compete with the traders,” Mr. Aquino said. The NFA targets purchases of 4.6 million bags (230,367 MT) of palay this year to augment its rice requirement for distribution and buffer stocks. “At the present government support price of P17.70 -- P18/kg of palay, we are still giving the farmers a net profit of at least P285.00 -- P300.00 per bag,” he added. -- E.J.C. Tubayan
  • Rice farmers earn P32B in Q1

  •  By Jed Macapagal

    The National Food Authority (NFA) said palay farmers earned around P32 billion due to high farm-gate prices experienced during the first quarter of 2017. NFA said it bought  131,720 bags from farmers nationwide at the government support price of P17  per kg, plus incentives of P0.70 to P1 per kg for a total amount of P118.5 million.  The remaining harvest for the quarter was sold by farmers to private traders at higher prices averaging P19.80 per kg.  NFA said  farmers who sold palay to the agency at P850 to P900 per bag realized a net profit of at least P39.5 million, while those who sold to traders at an average of P990 per bag earned an estimated P390 per bag or a total of P31.93 billion net profit  based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s data on the cost of palay production in the country at P12 per kg. NFA said  even with its intensified palay buying activities and incentives, farmers still took advantage of the high prices offered by private traders ranging from  P18  to P22.00 per kg against the government’s support price of P17 per kg plus incentives.  NFA’s number is lower than the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) estimated income of farmers during the quarter.  Last month, Emmanuel Piñol, DA secretary,  estimated that the aggregate income of rice farmers during the first quarter is estimated at P73.08 billion since the buying price of paddy rice by traders has gone to as high as P21 per kilo or an increase of between P7 to P9 per kilo from the previous seasons.  “It is the mandate of the NFA to stabilize the price of rice in the market and we know  NFA serves as the benchmark for the price of palay. It influences the buying price of private traders to go higher than the support price for them to corner the volume they need. Without NFA as a stabilizer, the traders can dictate the price of palay, short-changing the farmers whenever they can,” said Jason Laureano Aquino, NFA administration said in a statement.   ”We don’t base our performance solely on how much we have procured because we are limited by the government support price of P17 per kg.  We cannot go beyond that. What is important is that the farmers are enjoying much higher prices from private traders and that is good. The NFA’s presence is meant to stabilize the price of palay, not to directly compete with the traders,” he added.    For this year, the NFA targets to buy 4.6 million bags equivalent to 230,367 metric tons of palay to augment rice requirement for distribution and buffer stocking.  Aquino said  at the present government support price of P17.70 to P18 per kg of palay, NFA is giving farmers a net profit of at least P285 to P300 per bag.  NFA also assured there is enough rice in Marawi City, which is currently being ravaged by the conflict between government troops and the Maute terrorist group.  “We assure all residents of Marawi and the rest of Mindanao that we have enough rice in NFA warehouses in the area. We are ready to issue rice to relief-giving agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine National Red Cross and local government units anytime they would need it to distribute to the affected residents,” Aquino said. He said  NFA rice stocks for the whole of Mindanao currently stands at 1,504,190 bags and that its offices in other regions, if necessary, are ready to augment the buffer stocks in the region to effectively meet the residents’ rice requirements during the 60-day implementation of martial law in the area.
  • P237M worth of rice seized

  • Verne Enciso, officer in charge of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-Cebu, said the shipments arrived sometime last March 2017 at the CIP but were discovered only recently. Philstar.com/File CEBU, Philippines - At least 118,500 bags of rice from Thailand valued at P237 million not covered by import permits were apprehended at the Cebu International Port.
    Of this number, 80,000 were found in a cargo vessel while 38,500 were found in 77 container vans. It was Verne Enciso, officer in charge of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-Cebu, who recommended to Customs District Collector Elvira Cruz that a Warrant of Seizure and Detention be issued against the shipments, as well as the vessel. As of yesterday, Cruz has yet to act on the recommendation. Enciso said the shipments arrived sometime last March 2017 at the CIP but were discovered only recently. It is the National Food Authority that issued import permits. MV Mekong is still on anchorage at the CIP as BOC-Cebu did not issue an exit clearance. The rice shipments, reported to be part of the 2016 Minimum Access Volume (MAV) importation program of the National Food Authority, failed to arrive in time for the February 28 deadline imposed by NFA administrator Jason Aquino. According to Enciso, they will abide by the decision of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon or the Department of Finance if it will be decided that import permits will be issued to cover the rice importations. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez who sits as member of the NFA Council (NFAC) said President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed, albeit in principle, to allow the private sector to import rice the other day. This, in effect, stopped the NFA’s plan to import rice using government-to-government transactions. To recall, the NFAC, headed by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., set an extension for the remaining six percent of the MAV allocation to March 31. However, in a memorandum to Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, Aquino requested that BOC apprehend shipments arriving after February 28, except for those coming from India and Pakistan. This is the reason why, last month, BOC-Cebu apprehended the P289 million worth of rice from Vietnam, Pakistan, and Thailand that arrived at the Cebu port on March 1, 2, 7, and 8. While Faeldon issued an order to this effect on March 7, Deputy Commissioner Natalio Ecarma issued another order dated March 17, saying rice importation under the 2016 MAV program was extended to March 31 regardless of country of origin. Ecarma issued the order when he was OIC commissioner in response to a memorandum from Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. However, Aquino refused to issue import permits because he already served notice to countries of origin on his plan to import using government-to-government transactions. "Sa ngayon, we are still waiting for further instruction of Faeldon if the rice shipment will be released with the import permit na retroactive yung effect. Wait and see lang muna kami," Enciso said Enciso said they would be glad if the rice shipments will be released to the consignees as this would mean income on the part of the bureau because the consignees will be paying Customs taxes and duties amounting to millions of pesos. Enciso said that if all rice shipments will be confiscated in favor of the government, the bureau will not earn as the smuggled rice cannot be put to a public auction, but will all be donated to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). (FREEMAN)