September 28, 2023

Agriculture Sec. William Dar warned personnel of his agency will face suspension or administrative charges if they are found to be acting as “cohorts” of technical smugglers in the country.
Dar said smugglers of agricultural products usually get away with their crime by passing through legal channels, using technical smuggling schemes like misdeclaration, undervaluation, or misclassification.
These smuggled goods enter the market with the help of big-time personalities with some help from their cohorts within the DA, the secretary said.
“We will recommend based on existing laws the repercussion of their illegal acts. They will be suspension if they have to be suspended, upon the recommendation of the DA,” Dar said.
The DA earlier warned high-profile individuals may face administrative charges even as Dar urged possible informants to help the government hasten its investigation.
“Continuous din ang pagkakalap natin ng impormasyon at imbestigasyon kasi we would like to do due diligence properly, at sana ‘yung mga may interaksyon, o merong kunstyabahan diyan, ay sabihin sa amin lahat itong impormasyon para mas mabuo at malaman natin kung sino ang mga involved na opisyales,” he said.
The DA also pointed out the need to further digitize their import and customs operations, in collaboration with the Bureau of Customs.
“We will see to it that our quarantine officers manning these holding ports are given iPad to document everything and have it in our database. This will help us reduce elbow room of quarantine officers kung sila po ay kasabwat dito po sa misvaluation,” Dar added.
He said affected farmers and cooperatives could save on transportation costs by selling their agricultural products in Metro Manila through DA’s Kadiwa rolling stores.
In a Senate investigation, several agricultural groups disclosed how dreadful the effects of smuggling schemes are to farmers, with 20 to 40 percent decline in the daily production of carrots alone, reaching P2.5 million in losses per day.  – PNA