Press Release
April 11, 2022

Pangilinan vows to dismantle food smuggling network

VICE-PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan vows to dismantle the food smuggling network deeply embedded in the different agencies of Philippine government.

?"Kung palarin akong maging vice-president, tatapusin natin ang mga smuggling at iligal na importasyon, at kakasuhan natin ang lahat ng sangkot dito," Pangilinan said in an interview with Radyo 5's Ted Failon and DJ Chacha Monday morning.

During the interview, Failon asked Pangilinan about his achievements after 17 years in the Senate, echoing fake news spread by trolls and bashers that the senator has nothing to show for his three decades of work in government.

"Pardon me, Mr. Failon, but you are echoing fake news spread by my rivals," Pangilinan politely rebutted, and then enumerated the stellar results of his legislative work and brief stint as food and agriculture czar during the Aquino administration.

"In one and a half years, we were able to stop the importation of high-priced rice from Vietnam and Thailand. We filed administrative cases against six regional heads of the National Food Administration, officials who were involved in pushing for not only importation, but also re-bagging and repacking of smuggled products," he added.

"We saved 7 billion pesos in government funds because of that move," Pangilinan said of his track record in good governance.

Pangilinan also debunked fake news about his years as a senator, noting that his 17 years has been fruitful especially with the much-needed Sagip Saka Law (Republic Act 11321) giving powers to national agencies and local government units to directly procure food products from farmers and fisherfolk thereby cutting out middlemen.

Of Pangilinan's over 115 measures laws authored and sponsored are the following landmark laws: the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act (RA 11524) which gives 3.5 million coconut farmers access to the P100 billion coco trust fund; with Senator Risa Hontiveros, the 105-day Expanded Maternity Leave Law (RA 11210) which expands the paid maternity leave to 105 days for mothers and 120 days for solo parents; and with Senator Bam Aquino, the Universal Access To Quality Tertiary Education Act (RA 10931) which grants free tuition and miscellaneous fees to students in state universities, local universities and colleges and TESDA-run technical-vocational institutions.

As an opposition senator since the onset of the pandemic in the Philippines in March 2020, Pangilinan has pushed for a key component of Sagip Saka Law, the direct purchase from local farmers and fisherfolk of P41 billion worth of food programs in various national agencies (DSWD, DILG, DOH, and DepEd) in the 2021 national budget.

His encouragement started in Bayanihan 1, where he instigated easy certification of farmers and fisherfolk by barangay captains for government procurement and thus caused the direct purchase by 444 LGUs of over P2.8 billion worth of produce from 532 individual farmers and fisherfolk and 265 farmers cooperatives and organizations during the 2020 lockdowns.

In the government anti-Covid initiative Bayanihan 2, Pangilinan made available P24 billion worth of interest-free loans to farmers and fisherfolk, and created temporary livelihoods to drivers of public utility vehicles through service contracting programs worth P5.58 billion.

During various Senate deliberations on Covid, Pangilinan triggered the lowering of test-kit cost by 26 percent when he questioned the non-use of Filipino-made quality test kits.

The vice-presidential candidate also insisted on and incorporated safeguards and transparency in the procurement process in Bayanihan 2, which helped expose the P15-billion scam in PhilHealth and the overpriced and substandard purchases of medical supplies from Pharmally.

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