BENGUET officials are not doing enough to combat the persistent vegetable smuggling issue, the League of Associations at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Areas alleged amid reports that the local Benguet farmers are suffering losses and being forced to dump crop supplies.
League public relations officer Agot Balanoy said during the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing that Benguet caretaker Eric Yap and governor Melchor Diclas have yet to show any concrete evidence of taking action against vegetable smuggling, even as Yap has claimed to have filed for a probe in October of last year.
“Well on this slide, we do not know if this is really an action or inaction. Our caretaker claimed that he filed a probe in the Congress or before the Congress last year, this was the month of October, we do not know if he really filed because there was no invitation for the investigation,” Balanoy said.
“We have not heard of any investigation in Congress. It is only the Senate that is conducting an investigation and well if we look at the news, his name, our caretaker here, his name came out on the articles, him being identified as being one of the smugglers,” Balanoy added.
According to Balanoy, they have asked Yap for a copy of the filed documents to no avail.
He also said that Diclas has yet to take any concrete action against the smuggling of vegetables.
The allegations come at a time when Benguet farmers are forced to give away crops for free due to inability to sell the products against cheaper Chinese smuggled vegetables.
According to Balanoy, farmers are losing P25 per kilo worth of produce, amounting to some estimated P2.5 million worth of losses per day as the recorded decline in produce demand and daily orders ballooned to some 40 percent this year.
Balanoy said most consumers prefer buying carrots smuggled from China because these can last up to two months, when local carrots spoil within days.
“There are cases wherein the farmers are giving away their produce as relief or they throw it away in the farm or dump them on the roadside,” Balanoy said.