THE local government has seized a shipment of smuggled carrots at the Manila North Harbor Port, according to the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
The shipment, seized Tuesday, came from China and was initially declared as chocolates, according to the BOC.
The report did not indicate the volume or value of the seized carrots.
The shipment was seized on August 16 during a joint operation of the Bureau of Customs, Manila International Container Port, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), and the Department of Trade and Industry.
The joint operation report said the shipment will undergo seizure and disposal proceedings for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, BPI-National Plant Quarantine Service’s Rules and Regulations for the Importation of Plant products, and Republic Act No. 10845 or the “Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.”
Measures are supposedly to be intensified to prevent the entry of more smuggled agricultural products into the country.
Highland carrots go for P120 a kilo in Metro Manila markets, but the lower prices of smuggled Chinese carrots compared to local Benguet produce means less buyers of local products.
In March, some carrot farmers had been forced to give away their products for free due to lack of buyers brought about by smuggled supplies.
Benguet Cong. Eric Go Yap, after the seizure of the smuggled carrots in the country, called on authorities to immediately identify and arrest all the smugglers that have caused the suffering of affected farmers, particularly in the province.
“May nahuling shipment galing China na naglalaman ng smuggled carrots na idineklarang chocolates sa Manila North Harbor Port. Sasailalim pa ito sa seizure and disposal proceedings para matukoy kung gaano karami ang laman at kung magkano ang halaga nito,” said Yap.
“Nagpapasalamat tayo sa BOC sa agarang pagresponde sa ating patuloy na panawagan na higpitan ang pagbabantay sa pagpasok at pagkalat sa market ng smuggled agricultural products. Ngunit, hindi tayo dapat tumigil sa nahuli lang at nakumpiska lang yung smuggled goods. Dapat ay makasuhan ang mga responsable dito at maipakita na may makulong para magsilbing babala sa mga gustong ituloy pa ang ganitong illegal na gawain,” added Yap.
Yap, since assuming as caretaker for Benguet in 2020, vowed to help farmers in their plight against smuggling and has been in close coordination with the BoC to help curb the illegal entry of vegetables into the country.
Mahigpit tayong makikipag-ugnayan sa BOC at iba pang ahensya para siguradong mapanagot ang smugglers na responsable sa pagpasok sa shipment na nahuli kaninang umaga at sa mga nauna pang mga kaso. At kung mapatunayan na may kasabwat na government official o employee dito, agad nating ipapatawag sa Kongreso,” Yap added.
Yap together with Davao City’s Paolo Duterte last week filed a House bill urging the House Committee on Agriculture and Food to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the continued smuggling of agricultural products into the country despite existing laws.
“Meron rin tayong ipinanukala na House Resolution No. 108 na hinihimok ang Kongreso na imbestigahan ang patuloy na smuggling ng agricultural products sa bansa. Kasama ng ating mga kapwa mambabatas, layunin nating puksain ang agricultural smuggling na patuloy na nagpapahirap sa ating farmers at sa buong bansa. Mahalin ang sariling atin, ikulong ang lahat ng salarin sa smuggling,” Yap quipped