Anti-smuggling efforts in agri sector intensified

THE agriculture sector promised stricter implementation of laws against agricultural smuggling.

During the 16th congress meeting, Senate committee on agriculture and food Senator Cynthia Villar said she was able to lead the passage into law of 16 agricultural-related laws, including Republic Act (RA) 10845, which declares large-scale agricultural smuggling as economic sabotage and non-bailable.

Any agricultural commodity is included in the law.

Villar said smuggled rice amounting to more than P10 million is already considered economic sabotage.

"Our anti-agricultural smuggling act increases the penalties to agricultural smuggling and maybe a non-bailable offense. The law penalizes with a fine of equal to twice the fair value of the smuggled articles and imprisonment of six to 12 years for smuggling of any agricultural commodities or products whether plant-based, animal-based, raw or processed including any commodity product derived from livestock that is available for human or livestock consumption," she said.

Villar also called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file cases against smugglers and cartels because in 2013 and 2014, when they investigated cases of rice and garlic smuggling and cartel, there were no cases filed against any individual or group.

She said Senator Panfilo Lacson also previously promised to help with the filing of cases for these smugglers to better eradicate smuggling in the country. (JPA)
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