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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Lee urges congressional probe into online sale of smuggled onions

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AGRI party-list Rep. Wilbert Lee is seeking an inquiry into the reported proliferation of smuggled onions and other possible agricultural products being sold online.

The lawmaker also said this act “is detrimental to the livelihood of the local farmers and fisherfolk, and a threat to the health of consumers.” 

Lee filed House Resolution No. 1600, saying: “There is a need to take decisive action and measures from the government to protect our consumers as well as the livelihood of Filipino farmers and fisherfolk amid the online selling of smuggled onions.”

The Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) earlier said onion farmers were already incurring losses with the P28 per kilo farmgate price as the production costs stood at P30 per kilo.

“Farmers have been complaining,” he said.

“On the other hand, online buyers are also complaining about the bad quality of the onions they have bought,” Lee said.

“The Department of Agriculture has reported that it found E. coli on confiscated onions. Smuggled onions did not pass through the phytosanitary tests,” he added.

He urged the Department of Trade and Industry and other concerned government agencies to implement more stringent measures to curb the sale of illegally sourced agricultural products online.

He cited the need for the urgent passage of his proposed bill to amend Republic Act No. 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 that shall, to impose heavier punishment on agricultural smugglers, hoarders, price manipulators, cartels and government officials and employees taking part in such crime considered as economic sabotage. 

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