YAP SEEKS PROBE ON VEGGIE SMUGGLING

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A HOUSE Resolution will be filed to immediately conduct an investigation following the alleged smuggling of vegetables, particularly carrots, in the country.

Benguet caretaker Eric Go Yap called the unrestricted entry of these vegetables from abroad is tantamount to economic sabotage.

“This is economic sabotage. We strongly condemn the entry of imported carrots in our market and is heavily punishing our local farmers, particularly our kababayans in Benguet. We are now drafting a House Resolution which will call for a full blown investigation on the entry of these smuggled vegetables,” Yap said.

Benguet farmers last week called on the Department of Agriculture (DA) after receiving reports that imported crops are being sold in different markets all over the country despite the assurance from the Bureau of Plant Industry did not issue any import permits for vegetables.

“Hindi pa nga makarecover sa epekto ng pandemic ang farmers, madadagdagan pa ng problema kasi may competition din sa supply ng gulay particularly these carrots from China,” Yap said.

Yap said he already called on the DA and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to look into the entry of smuggled vegetables immediately.

“From what I gathered, walang import permits ang mga ito kaya there is no way that this is a legitimate entry of goods,” added the solon.

According to the solon, demand and price for locally produced carrots have gone down after Local markets were flooded with imported carrots prompting farmers to lower farm gate prices to be able to sell their produce.

“Yung mga order na galing sa Benguet, bumaba na ng husto kasi same price din or even cheaper pa yung imported carrots kaya napipilitan sumabay ang local producers natin para maging competititve.

But that is not the way to go if we intend to empower our farmers. This is two step backwards in attaining self-sufficiency and we strongly condemn this. Mura naman ang mga gulay natin and hindi tayo nagkukulang sa supply, why import? Or in this case, smuggle.

This is very alarming and I call on our consumers to do the right thing and support and buy our local produces, that is our moral obligation,” Yap lamented.

An inter-agency task force was formed Monday with DA, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), BOC, and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to launch an investigation over the alleged smuggling of fresh carrots in the country.