Pangilinan: Vegetable smuggling is non-bailable crime of economic sabotage

April 21, 2022

VICE-PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said government should be able to show that it can crack the whip on smugglers amid the unabated entry of imported vegetables that is killing the livelihood of Filipino farmers.

“Hindi sapat na kunin ang mga nasabat. Hinahamon natin ang pamahalaan na magsampa ng kaso ng economic sabotage, na isang non-bailable na krimen, sa mga may-ari ng trak at sa lahat ng may kinalaman sa smuggling,” Pangilinan said.

The senator issued the challenge following reports of seizure of some 100 kilos of smuggled carrots on their way to the local markets.

“100 kilos? Habang tone-tonelada carrots na nasa mga warehouse hindi ni-re-raid o hindi sinasampahan ng kaso mga may-ari nito? Mukhang budol-budol lang yung 100 kilos ng carrots. P20,000? Walang kwenta,” Pangilinan said.

“Tinatawanan lang ng mga smuggler yung nasabat na 100 kilos. Kung hindi nila kakasuhan yung may-ari ng trak, lokohan lang yung pagkumpiska ng karampot na 100 kilos habang tone-tonelada naman ang pinapalusot,” he stressed.

Pangilinan lamented that many farmers groups have been raising alarm about carrot smuggling since last year, but the action of concerned government agencies appeared lame.

A group of farmers and sellers from Benguet earlier said they were losing an average of P2.5 million a day due to carrot smuggling.

Orders from restaurants, markets, and other establishments have dipped by 40 percent due to competition from smuggled carrots sold at relatively lower prices.

Some farmers in Benguet have been forced to dump their produce that were unsold.

“Kailangan paigtingin ang laban sa smuggling. Dapat kasama sa hinahabol ay yung nagpalusot at yung pinanggalingan ng produkto hindi naman hinuhuli,” Pangilinan said.

“Kailangan matinding hagupit na ang gawin sa mga smuggler: iharap sa batas, pagbayarin, kasuhan at ipakulong. Kung ganito kapursigido ang pamahalaan, siguro magdadalawang-isip ang mga gumagawa ng katiwalian,” he added.

Pangilinan said that if the illegal activities continue, the local farmers’ livelihood will be severely affected.

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