About P1 billion smuggled agricultural products have been documented by the Office Of Senate President Vicente Sotto III based on the 25 anti-smuggling operations by the Bureau of Customs.
Sotto said the operations were conducted for only six months or from May 2021 to November 18, 2021.
“We documented 25 operations amounting to approximately P1 billion,” he said.
He said the smuggled frozen meats, high value agricultural food, garlic, onions, sugar, frozen mackerel and tuna, carrots, ginger and other fruit and vegetable products were declared as pastry ingredients, glucose syrups, mantou buns, or were misdeclared in terms of their true weight or quantity beyond the allowable importation limits.
Stressing the crucial role of the agricultural sector in stabilizing the country’s economy, he pressed senators to exercise their oversight function and check the efficacy, or lack of it, of the BOC operations against the smuggling of agricultural products.
“Pandemic is not the only big enemy nowadays, but also corruption. Some have said that the biggest disease is corruption as it burdens us all,” Sotto said.
“Corrupt practices committed by certain individuals have far-reaching consequences that affect our farmers, business sectors and ultimately the Filipino consumers. These importations significantly impact production, stock availability and stability of prices,” he added.