Two legislators, Reps Eric Go Yap (Benguet) and Paolo Z Duterte (Davao City), alarmed by the smuggling of agri-fishery goods estimated at P667.5 million in 2019-2022, have co-authored House Bill 168 urging the Lower House committee on agriculture and food to conduct an investigation.
Accordingly, only P10 million worth of the smuggled items were apprehended. Added to this was another P1.99 billion worth of agricultural products in 542 raids conducted in 2019!
Yap and Duterte were quoted saying that “smuggling of agricultural products has been causing price distortion in the produce of Filipino farmers and defeats the efforts to increase farm production.
Smuggling activities have been active despite the creation of a Task Force to investigate the sudden proliferation of smuggled vegetables in the local market like carrots, ginger, onions and poultry products. The TF is composed of representatives from the Bureau Customs (BOC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Smuggling, likened to an incurable disease, has been in the country since time immemorial. While we do not profess being the only smugglers paradise, we abhor such reference! Unless eradicated fast enough (like corruption), attempts to inject fresh blood to the battered economy, is forecast to remain a dream.
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