Gov’t to step up fight against agri smugglers, hoarders

Gov’t to step up fight against agri smugglers, hoarders
Photo from the Presidential Communications Office.
  • President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. vowed to go after smugglers and hoarders of agricultural products
  • He slammed those who engage in price manipulation of agri goods in his 2nd State of the Nation Address
  • Their days are numbered, he said, noting cases will be filed

THE government will step up its campaign against agricultural smuggling and go after smugglers and hoarders who manipulate prices of commodities, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Monday during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“One of the reasons for the rising prices is that smugglers, hoarders, and manipulate the prices of agricultural products,” Marcos said in Filipino at his SONA on July 24 in Batasang Pambansa.

Saying their days are numbered, the Chief Executive vowed to file cases against smugglers and hoarders, noting their actions make “lives of ordinary Filipinos miserable”.

Early this July, Marcos directed the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation into onion smuggling in the country. Other cases of supposed smuggling involving such commodities as sugar have also been reported.

Also at the SONA, Marcos commended the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for higher revenue collection. He said the agency took in P476 billion in duties and taxes or 7.4% more in the first seven months of the year.

In a separate release on July 4, the BOC reported a P74.861-billion collection for June alone, exceeding by P140 million, its target of P74.721 billion for the month.

RELATED READ: BOC collects P74.9B in June, slightly exceeds target

The agency said its campaign against smuggling contributed to its positive collection performance. The efforts resulted in the seizure of shipments with an aggregate estimated value of P23.8 billion this year.

Of the total, seizures of counterfeit goods represented P15.54 billion; seizures of agricultural products, P2.90 billion; and seizures of cigarettes/tobacco, P1.85 billion.

The Marcos administration has declared its focus on improving the country’s agricultural productivity to ensure food security.

Marcos said his administration will work with Congress to amend the Fisheries Code and the Cooperative Code with the goal of sustaining fishery and farm productions.

Part of the government’s thrust is providing farmers with modern equipment and machineries, fertilizer, vegetable, corn, and palay seeds.

To help farmers, the government distributed over 28,000 modern machinery and equipment, the President and also the secretary Department of Agriculture (DA) said. He added that more than five million rice seeds, over one million corn seeds, and various vegetable seeds have been distributed by the DA.

The government is also investing in farm-to-market roads, cold storage facilities, and irrigation systems to easily transport produce, mitigate spoilage and improve farm yield. – Michael Barcas