June 20, 2024

A monitoring team composed of personnel from the provincial and municipal governments and farmer’s group in Benguet is being proposed to join in the inspection by the national agencies on smuggling of vegetables and other crops.
Mayor Romeo Salda said he recently met with Agriculture Secretary William Dar to discuss the possibility of reviving the anti-vegetable smuggling monitoring team from the province. 
During the term of the late Gov. Nestor Fongwan, Sr., the province has its own monitoring team that was in constant coordination with the Bureau of Customs in monitoring the entry of smuggled vegetables. 
“That’s what the farmers want to happen now that’s why we are in coordination with the provincial government, DA, and BOC for its creation,” Salda said.
Dar assured Salda that the joint task force against vegetable smuggling led by the BOC is constantly making apprehensions of smuggled vegetables entering the country.
Products seized are being traced to their consigners and consignees, and appropriate charges were already filed against people and companies involved. 
With the recent Senate inquiries on vegetable smuggling, Salda said the BOC has been on its toes to go against the illegal importations of vegetable products.
Also, during their meeting, Salda said DA Usec. Kristine Evangelista has assured the release of the last tranche of the funds for the completion of the Community Business Center at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post.
The P30 million community business center was conceptualized back in 2016 to house some booth holders displaced from the trading post, however, its construction has been delayed due to the lack of funds.
Salda said they have been following up the proposed center where they already received two tranches of funding totaling to P14 million.
He said they are now waiting for the release of the P16 million fund for the completion of the center that would house some of the displaced 17 booth holders and the planned extension and renovation of the municipal hall.
Salda said the usage of the center would still be finalized by the sangguniang bayan. – Ofelia C. Empian