Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Tuesday said he may ask President Rodrigo Duterte to allow the agency exercise its regulatory powers to address the issue of alleged fake or plastic rice.
"Mayroon kasing power ang Department of Agriculture (DA) sa pag-issue ng [sanitary certification], but this function is not being exercised over imported rice," Piñol told Unang Balita in an interview.
"[If complaints about fake rice persists], I will ask President Duterte to allow the Department of Agriculture to exercise its regulatory powers over imported rice," he added.
He said if Duterte gives him the go signal, the DA will ask the National Food Authority (NFA) to allow its inspectors to check imported rice from Thailand or Vietnam before the actual delivery to the country.
Piñol said the DA will also look into reports of the supposed presence of fake rice in the local market.
He said the DA or the NFA has yet to receive actual complaints of fake rice.
The DA secretary urged the public to report or bring directly to the DA or the NFA if they have purchased fake rice from the local market.
He added that so far, the DA has only seen alleged fake rice on social media including Facebook.
"Actually puro lang naman video sa Facebook ang nakikita namin eh. So far, wala pang nagpipresenta ng totoong ebidensya sa mga tanggapan ng ating gobyerno para patunayan na totoo nga 'yan," he said.
In a report on GMA News' State of the Nation on Friday, a buyer brought one kilo of alleged fake rice to the barangay hall of Barangay Commonwealth.
The report said the NFA will conduct a test on the reported fake rice.
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