Press Release
September 14, 2023

Bato supports imposition of stiff penalties for economic sabotage perpetrators

Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa expresses support for the passage of a bill that urges tough penalties on offenders engaged in crimes that are regarded as economic sabotage.

On Monday, Senator Cynthia Villar, Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform, introduced Senate Bill No. 2432 or the "Anti-Agricultural Economic Sabotage Act," at the Senate plenary.

Under SBN 2432, "economic sabotage" is defined as activities such as "disrupting the economy by creating artificial shortage, promoting excessive importation, manipulating prices and supply and evading payment or underpayment of tariffs and custom duties" among others.

According to Villar, the proposed bill seeks to repeal Republic Act No. 10845 or the "Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016" which the lady senator deemed as a "failure" after the Bureau of Customs (BOC), its lead implementing agency, recorded zero number of convictions seven years after its enactment.

Dela Rosa, who also filed his own version of the bill (SBN 2413), commended Villar for initiating a whole-of-government approach in addressing the rampant agricultural smuggling, hoarding, profiteering and cartel in the country as he noted that the said crimes destroy the optimism of our local farmers.

"I must say that this is truly a proactive and prompt response to the alarming number of cases of smuggling in the country. At the same time, and more importantly, this is a decisive action towards the protection of our Filipino farmers," the Mindanaoan Senator said in his co-sponsorship speech for the measure.

"In order to more fully and effectively implement this, there shall be an Anti-Agricultural Economic Sabotage Council. To assist the Council in the prosecution of crimes, a Special Team of Prosecutors shall be created. At the same time, the bill also proposes to create an Anti-Agricultural Economic Sabotage Enforcement Group to assist the Council in matters relating to enforcement," Dela Rosa added.

The former top cop then urged Congress and the public to support the measure so as to ensure justice, bring renewed hope and build a better life for our local farmers.

"If we take care of our farmers, of their dreams and hopes for the future, then we are also taking care of the dreams and hopes of the rest of the nation. Let us cultivate, rather than destroy, their optimism. If this cultivation means weeding out self-seeking criminals with the passage of this bill, then so be it. When we pass this into law and when it is implemented well, then what we have cultivated shall bear fruit. When that time comes, we shall be happy to reap, along with our farmers, the harvest of what we have sown," Dela Rosa said.

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