Press Release
March 8, 2022

Pangilinan: Leni-Kiko tandem to end smuggling of agriculture products

SURIGAO DEL SUR, MARCH 8, 2022 -- Vice-presidential candidate and Senator Francis Pangilinan today said only the Robredo-Pangilinan administration will end the smuggling of agriculture products that has dampened the incomes of Filipino food producers.

"Dahil inuuna ng TROPA, ng TEAM Robredo-Pangilinan, ang mga Pilipino, tatapusin natin ang smuggling ng mga pagkain na lason sa ating sariling magsasaka at mangingisda. Ginawa na natin yan dahil ganyan tayo magtrabaho. Gobyernong tapat, angat buhay lahat dahil smuggling wasak," he said in a statement.

"Pagnanakaw ang smuggling. Ninanakawan ng hanapbuhay ang mga Pilipinong magsasaka at mangingisda," he added.

Pangilinan said the unabated smuggling of imported vegetables and the continuous spike in oil prices are dealing Filipino farmers and fishers more hardships that they can hurdle.

"Tunganga na lang ba ang gobyerno at panoorin na lang na unti-unting malanta at maglaho ang mga magsasakang Pilipino? Kailangan listo naman. Dapat galaw-galaw laban sa smuggling," Pangilinan said.

"Ayon sa mga magsasaka at nagtitinda sa palengke, lantaran na ang smuggling ng mga gulay. Bakit walang nahuhuli? O ayaw lang ba talagang kumilos ng mga ahensya dahil nakikinabang sila rito?" he added.

Pangilinan got a personal glimpse of the situation of Filipino farmers in his recent visit to Benguet. As one of the vegetable bowls of the country, farmers told the senator that they have plentiful harvest of almost all vegetables whole year round.

"Simula nung dumating ang imported na carrots, nabawasan ng halos kalahati ang order sa amin," one of the vendors said. Because of this, she said farmers are incurring at least P2.5 million in daily income losses.

Farmers are also hurting from the high oil prices, which they said are part of their expenses in hauling their crops to Metro Manila and other places.

Reports have said that aside from carrots, cabbage, ginger and even strawberries are being smuggled into the country's borders and flooding markets.

Pangilinan said the country is not without laws to stop smuggling, citing in particular Republic Act No. 10845 which declared large-scale smuggling of agricultural products as "economic sabotage."

The law said illegal importation significantly impacts production, stock availability and stability of prices.

Last year, the government formed the Sub-Task Group on Economic Intelligence, chaired by the Department of Agriculture and Department of Trade and Industry, purportedly to curb rampant entry of contraband agriculture products in the country.

"What has this body accomplished so far? And if it says it's doing something, then definitely, it's not enough because rabid smuggling of vegetables still happens," Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan, who is running in tandem with Vice President Leni Robredo, said curbing smuggling will be one of the priorities of their administration if they succeed in the elections.

Earlier, Pangilinan also asked the Senate to convene into a committee of the whole to look into the illegal entry of vegetables and assess government efforts in stopping it. He also said that the Agriculture department should tap farmers and vendors as deputies in reporting about smuggled vegetables to help the government curb it.


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