By Mortz C. Ortigoza
ROSALES – The Abono Party List plays a major role in curbing this year the spate of smuggling in the country from 1.4 million metric tons (MT) in 2013 to 600 MT of rice presently, according to its chairman Rosendo So.
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So said that last year’s data from the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database and the Vietnam Ministry of Industry and Trade bared a total importation volume of 2.3 million MT for the Philippines.
The 2.3 MT came from the 1.4 million MT of rice from Vietnam; 353,000 MT from Thailand; 330,000 MT from China, 220,000 MT from India; 34 MT from the United States; 52 MT from Pakistan; 294 MT from Japan; and 30 MT from Italy.
But So compared that records from the Bureau of Custom (BoC) showed a total importation volume of 1,582,392 MT of rice only for 2014.
“This discrepancy accounts for 721,018 MT of rice smuggled into the country last year,” So said.
He said that smuggled rice was worth P21.6 billion. He explained aside from rice there were five other agricultural products that were sneaked in the country that accounted for P37.3 billion of all the smuggled goods last year.
Although he lauded the BoC for posting at the internet the data of rice that enters the country, he still deplored its 1,582,392 MT of the recorded imported rice compared to the 1.7 MT records of the same rice at the National Food Authority.
So, who is the chairman of pro-farmers’ Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura, is at the forefront lobbying the government to make P5 million and above and non-bailable the penalty of all agricultural products smuggled by the culprit in the country.
“Ito na lang ang tinitingnan namin na amount is P5 million up accumulated. Ibig sabihin kung may shipment ka sa Davao, sa Zamboanga may shipment ka, sa Manila kung accumulated or isang shipment lang 4 and 5 million (pesos)”.
He wished that the version of the Abono Party in the House of Representatives and the versions of Senators Cynthia Villars, Grace Poe, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito for the P5 million cap will be passed by Congress and signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III before his term ends next year.