Benguet farmers continue to lose daily due to smuggling
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The League of Associations at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post (LALTVTP), decried their non-invitation to the Farmers’ Congress held last March 16 at the Capitol.
The biggest agriculture-related organization in Benguet with around 10,000 members covering the different stakeholders of the vegetable trading industry based in La Trinidad said in its social media page that for nine months now, farmers of Benguet have been losing an estimate of P2.5 million daily because of illegally imported vegetables now flooding the market.
Contrary to the pronouncement of a top Benguet official, LALTVTP said smuggled carrots and other vegetables continue to find their way to Manila markets and provinces.
“Stop lying and fooling the people of Benguet”, LALTVTP said.
“Kung totoong may action against smuggling as claimed by top Benguet officials during said farmers’ congress, bakit walang epekto? Bakit hindi tumitigil ang smuggling?,” LALTVTP citing that on the morning of farmers’ congress their members were not even able to sell medium local carrots.
LALTVP spokesperson Augusta Balanoy said they feel helpless as even officials of the provincial government called them liars despite evidence showing the presence of smuggled vegetables.
Before the Senate inquiry on vegetable smuggling conducted on December 2021, the provincial government denied there is vegetable smuggling and accused the organization of using old pictures as evidence.
Balanoy said as early as June 2021, concerned authorities have been informed of the issue.
“These smugglers are so brazen. Despite our continuous complaints and even with the ongoing Senate inquiry on the matter, illegally imported vegetables continue to flood the market.” Balanoy said.
She said around 38 million kilos of illegally imported carrots enter our markets monthly.
LALTVTP has recorded 40 percent less orders in carrots in the past months.
Lawyer Richard Kilaan of the Lawyers for Farmers said they are planning to file cases in court against the different government offices for their inaction about the problem which have been reported to their offices nine months ago.
In the Senate inquiry in June, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said he suspects there is a conspiracy among agencies, which is why smuggled goods continue to enter the country. – Press release