DA appoints OIC for anti-agri smuggling unit

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The Port of Subic in November 2023 issued eight Pre-Lodgment Control Orders and two Alert Orders against fifteen 40-footer container van shipments initially declared to contain frozen lobster balls and Surimi crab. Upon physical examination, the shipments were found to contain assorted fresh vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, and broccoli. Photo from BOC.
  • Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel has appointed Carlos Carag officer-in-charge, Office of the Assistant Secretary for the Department of Agriculture Inspectorate and Enforcement, the agency’s office on anti-agricultural smuggling
  • His duties include conducting intelligence operations on alleged/reported illegal activities and violations on regulatory policies and agricultural anti-smuggling law
  • He will lead coordination with the Bureau of Customs in curbing agricultural smuggling

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel has appointed Carlos Carag officer-in-charge, Office of the Assistant Secretary for the Department of Agriculture Inspectorate and Enforcement (DAIE), the agency’s office on anti-agricultural smuggling.

Under DA Special Order No. 482 series of 2024 dated April 3, Carag’s functions and duties include conducting intelligence operations on alleged/reported illegal activities and violations on regulatory policies and agricultural anti-smuggling law that negatively impact on the economy.

Carag will lead the coordination with the Bureau of Customs in curbing agricultural smuggling.

He will also conduct document tracking and monitoring of locally produced and imported commodities to deter profiteering and price manipulation.

His office will investigate regulatory and policy violations and provide assistance in law enforcement and prosecution of cases, and recommend and provide inputs on the enhancement of existing regulations, standards, and procedures related to the implementation of anti-smuggling and food safety laws and other related issuances.

On the inspection side, Carag is tasked to conduct validation and monitoring of programs and projects of DA ensuring that these are implemented in accordance with the operational plans and guidelines and fund utilization.

He will also conduct investigation on allegations of unethical or illicit activities of DA officials and employees as reported to the Office of the Secretary.

Carag will report directly to the undersecretary for DAIE Alvin John Balabag.

The DAIE was created in 2022 “to curb agricultural smuggling and price manipulation as economic sabotage to ensure food safety and food security, promote fair trade, and protect the livelihood and well-being of our farmers and fisherfolk.”

DA noted that agri-fishery smuggling “endangers not only the livelihood of our farmers and fisherfolk, but also threatens the health and safety of the consumers due to the influx of food products that did not undergo proper quality control and inspection.”

READ: Congress expected to pass anti-agri eco sabotage bill by midyear