October 30, 2010
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan continues his drive against smuggled produce, spearheading a raid of smuggled onions in Divisoria Friday morning.
“Nakakaiyak talaga itong mga ganitong smuggled na sibuyas e. Ito ang nagpapahirap sa mga kababayan nating magsasaka na nagsisikap itaguyod ang industriya natin ng agrikultura.”
Pangilinan, who is the Senate Chairman of the Agriculture, says that the country has a surplus of onions as confirmed by the Department of Agriculture’s order halting the importation of onions until December 31, 2010.
According to Sibuyas ng Pilipinas Ating Alagaan (SIPAG) Foundation officials, an umbrella group of onion-growers, there is a significant surplus with this year’s onion production of 124,900 metric tons. Philippine onion demand only amounts to 101,200 metric tons annually.
Pangilinan, together with the BOC also conducted a raid at the Port of Manila last month where large containers with tons of smuggled onions were seized.
“We are following thru with our previous efforts to ensure that the seized onions do not end up in the market as they pose health risks because they have not been subjected to sanitary inspection. It’s bad enough that our local farmers are losing the competition with cheaper smuggled onions.”
“We urge the BOC and other concerned agencies to prosecute these heartless smugglers and traders that are effectively crippling our economy. We have requested the BOC to give us updates regarding the status of these cases, and we will continue with our efforts. We also urge the private sector to join us and be vigilant in our battle against smuggling.”