February 1, 2023

Following the recent seizure of an illegal shipment of carrots into the country, Benguet Rep. Eric Yap said he is bent on making sure the smugglers be prosecuted.

On Aug. 16, 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 led to the seizure of smuggled carrots declared as chocolates at the Manila North Harbor Port.

Yap has called on authorities to immediately identify and arrest all the smugglers while he claimed the seized shipment will undergo seizure and disposal proceedings for violation of several laws.

“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,” said Yap.

Last March, Yap wrote to the BOC’s Legal Department to release data detailing the cases filed against smugglers for economic sabotage. It was not known if the BOC has acceded to his request.

Recently, Yap and Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte co-authored House Resolution 108 urging the Lower House to conduct further inquiry on vegetable smuggling in aid of legislation.

In the resolution, the lawmakers have urged the House committee on agriculture and food to also conduct an inquiry on the continued smuggling of agricultural products in the country despite previous directives from past and current presidents for concerned agencies led by BOC to combat smuggling.

The lawmakers expressed hope the House inquiry would help in pursuing the filing of cases against illegal smugglers.

“It is imperative for the concerned agencies to ensure that the cases being filed against identified consignees of the smuggled agricultural crops are air tight to qualify as economic sabotage for them to face the consequences of their illegal activities that tend to impact on the established sources of livelihood of our farmers,” the House resolution stated. – Ofelia C. Empian