Test Case for the Non-Bailable Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
The chairman of the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) pressed recently Bureau of Custom’s Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to sue with the newly implemented Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 people behind the smuggling of seven containers of onions.
ANTI –SMUGGLING SINAG. The anti - smuggling Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) headed by Engineer Rosendo So (center) showed early this year the thumbs down signs at Quezon City with agriculture stakeholders in the country by asking the Department of Justice to sue rice smugglers. PHOTO CREDIT: REMATE
In a July 29 letter written and sent by Engineer Rosendo So to Commissioner Faeldon, he asked the latter to charge with economic sabotage the owners, officers, representatives, and brokers of San Fred Trading and Great Light Trading with regard to the 88 containers of onions and garlic that arrived last May 25 at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
He said that the 88 containers of agricultural products are worth Php 130 million “much more than the Php 1 million minimum amounts for the smuggling of onions”.
The SINAG chair implored Faeldon to charge them and those colluding personnel of BOC, Department of Agriculture, and Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) with the new non-bailable anti-smuggling law.
RA No. 10845 was signed last May 23 into law by then President Benigno Aquino III.
Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 cited that a penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural product and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties and other charges avoided shall be imposed on any personwho commits any of the acts enumerated under Section 3 of the Act.
Section 3 cited the crime of large-scale agricultural smuggling as economic sabotage, involving sugar, corn, pork, poultry, garlic, onion, carrots, fish, and cruciferous vegetables, in its raw state, or which have undergone the simple processes of preparation or preservation for the market, with a minimum amount of one million pesos, or rice, with a minimum amount of ten million pesos, as valued by the BOC.
It can be recalled that on May 25 the 88 shipping containers arrived and were consigned to Great Light Trading and San Fred Trading.
“The two consignees were only allowed to import garlic. They had no import permit for onion,” Jessie Dellosa, deputy commissioner for Intelligence Group, said.
Dellosa said had the Bureau of Plant Industry issued import permits for the onions, the local market would be flooded with imported onions, to the detriment of local farmers.
He said onions were hidden in at least seven of 88 shipping containers abandoned at the MICP since they arrived in May 25.
“The agricultural sector supported the candidacy of President Rody Duterte because of his campaign promise to end smuggling. We are hoping that under your leadership in the BOC, then smugglers and their cohorts will be applied, charged and prosecuted accordingly,” The SINAG’s chief exhorted Faeldon.