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Republic of the Philippines HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Quezon City, Metro Manila Sixteenth Congress ‘Thitd Regular Session HOUSE RESOLUTION _2209 Introduced by BAYAN MUNA Representatives CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE and NERI J, COLMENARES RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND FOOD AND THE. ‘SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON FOOD SECURITY TO CONDUCT A CONGRESSIONAL. INQUIRY IN AID OF LEGISLATION ON THE REPORTS OF THE ILLEGAL IMPORTATION AND TRADE OF FAKE RICE WHEREAS, rice is one of the most important commodity in the Philippines. It is the staple food of almost 90% of the population. As an industry, palay accounts for 34% of the major agricultural crop production and contributes about 4% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP.): WHEREAS, recently, news reports have circulated regarding the entry and proliferation of fake or synthetic rice in the local markets. Particularly, residents of Barangays Matina Aplaya, Mintal, Buhangin, Cabiantan in Davao City and its nearby localities have reportedly purchased suspected fake rice, which was passed off as regular rice. Similar report also surfaced in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur where residents complained that the rice had the appearance of Styrofoam when cooked; WHEREAS, the trace conducted by the National Food Authority (NFA) in Davao found out that the suspected fake rice came from Bansalan, Davao del Sur, and were stored in unmarked and unlabelled sacks; WHEREAS, reports also indicate that fake rice is difficult to detect, as it has the same texture, color, and shape of regular rice and is impossible to detect when mixed with regular rice. Fake rice i reportedly a mixture of potatoes, sweet potatoes and synthetic resin molded in to the shape of real rice. Fake rice said to be manufactured in China, is reported to have been brought into other Asian countries such as India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. The synthetic resin, or plastic, used to make fake rice is the same material used to make pipes and cables, according to news reports; WHEREAS, Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, spokesperson of the Department of Health (DOH), cautioned the Public in consuming fake rice as it may cause diarrhea and vomiting, and could also lead to other complications, like cancer; WHEREAS, despite being a staple, the price of rice in the Philippines is high because of the lack of infrastructure support from the government such as irrigation, post-harvest facilities and farm-to- ‘market roads for local farmers; WHEREAS, amid the rising costs of food, utilities, and transportation, fake rice sold at cheaper prices than authentic rice is certain to attract buyers despite its possible health risks; WHEREAS, upon the country’s accession to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and World Trade Organization (WTO), particularly through the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), the local agriculture sector was tied to trade liberalization. It promotes liberalization of rice and other categorized “sensitive” products. It imposes removal of quantitative restrictions on rice and other agricultural lines; WHEREAS, past govemments and the present Aquino administration continue to rely on massive rice importation to meet the increasing consumption demands. In 2015, 1.8 million tons of milled rice in 2015; WHEREAS, massive rice importation has remained as one of the “most viable options” of the Bovernment to attain food security, notwithstanding its unfavorable effect on the livelihood of millions of local rice producers; WHEREAS, rice production is also the source of income of about 6 million Filipino farmers and agricultural workers. The entry of fake rice is an additional burden to rice-producing farmers as it could affect rice consumption. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the House Committee on Agriculture and Food, and the Special Committee on Food Security conduct a congressional inquiry in aid of Iezislation on the reports of the proliferation and trade of fake or synthetic rice, Adopted, Q (Cay a coetien Babe TE JAVYER COLMENARES Bayan Muna Party List ‘Bayo Mana Party List