April 20, 2024

Benguet Rep. Eric Yap has filed a bill amending provisions of the Anti-agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 purposely for stiffer penalties against the violators.
Yap said House Bill 319 seeks to amend Republic Act 10845 to serve as deterrence against potential smugglers and to protect Filipino farmers and the agricultural sector. 
In the proposed bill, Yap pushed for the increased penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural products and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties, and other charges avoided plus interest at the prevailing legal rate against any individuals who commits smuggling.
Dummy corporations, non-government organizations, associations, cooperatives, or single proprietorships who knowingly sell, lend, lease, assign, consent or allow the unauthorized use of their import permits for purposes of smuggling will be meted the penalty of imprisonment of not less than 17 years but not more than 20 years.
Violators will likewise be fined twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural product and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties, and other charges avoided plus interest at the prevailing legal rate if found guilty.
Meanwhile, Yap and Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte urged the House Committee on Agriculture and Food to conduct an inquiry on the continued agricultural smuggling into the country.
House Resolution 108 filed by the two lawmakers reiterated the earlier actions by the government in curbing the proliferation of smuggled agricultural products in the local markets.
The lawmakers said the inquiry would help in pursuing the filing of cases against illegal smugglers.
Benguet vegetable traders said RA 10845 has failed to stop smuggling of agriculture products from China, which has been going on since 2007. 
The Bureau of Customs data revealed that 100 kilograms of imported carrots and 90 kilograms of ginger from China being sold in Divisoria and Tondo were seized in April while shipments of Danury Consumer Goods Trading and Jeroce Consumer Goods were seized at the Manila International Container Port after it detected misdeclared goods including P75 million worth of frozen duck and chicken parts and to P49M worth of pork and poultry products in June, also this year.
The Department of Agriculture estimated that P667.5M worth of agri-fisheries goods were smuggled between 2019 and 2022 with only P10 million being seized, while the BOC also conducted 542 seizure cases involving P1.99 billion worth of agricultural products since 2019. 
During the Senate Committee of the Whole inquiry in June 2022, a list of individuals, including several BOC and DA officials allegedly involved in agricultural smuggling, was submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman and to President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. – Ofelia C. Empian