December 15, 2010
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan today delivered a privilege speech at the senate underscoring the government’s need to be at the forefront of stopping illegal smuggling of agricultural products as unscrupulous trading undermines the country’s efforts at food security.
“It must be stressed that food security is national security—a public interest of the highest order. Government should find solutions to stop illegal smuggling of agricultural products before we totally cripple our farmers.”
Pangilinan adds that smuggling directly affects the livelihood of the country’s farmers as well as posing a serious threat to the health of consumers.
“When smuggled goods find their way into our markets, our farmers are robbed of their profits. Smuggled products sell at a much lower price in the market. Smuggled pork are sold for as low as P70 a kilo, while our own local pork is sold at P170 a kilo. Consumers will not pick a more costly produce, even if they are not assured of the quality. These products have not gone through quality control processing; as such they pose as health hazards to our consumers.”
Pangilinan says that even as the Philippines is an agricultural country, “we are unable to feed our people properly and cannot provide for the hands that feed us.”
“We need sustained and relentless efforts at going after smugglers, and it should not end with the seizure of goods smuggled: It must ultimately end up in placing smugglers behind bars.”