Filipinos face life in prison if they’re caught hoarding rice.
“The Department of Justice is preparing economic sabotage or plunder charges that carry a life sentence against traders found to be hoarding rice, the price of which has risen sharply amid a tight global supply,” The Inquirer reports. “Although the country has yet to experience a shortage, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Thursday vowed to hale to court hoarders and other unscrupulous rice traders for acts ‘inimical to the public interest.'”
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reiterated the warnings during a speech today, but also pledged to increase imports of the staple.
“Those who seek to take advantage of our people must be stopped,” she says, according to The Inquirer. “I am leading the charge to crack down on any form of corruption by public or private officials who would divert supplies or pervert the price of this essential commodity in any way.”
“Anyone caught stealing rice from the people will be thrown in jail,” she adds.
Bloomberg News reports that the price of rice, a key staple in the global food supply, keeps hitting record highs. It’s now twice as expensive as it was at this time in 2007.
“We’re in for a tough time,” Roland Jansen, CEO of Mother Earth Investments AG, tells the financial news service, adding: “you will have huge problems of daily nutrition for half the planet.”
(Photo of workers in Manila taken March 28 by Romeo Ranoco, Reuters.)
Source: USA Today