DA blacklists rice importer over illegal activities

DA blacklists rice importer over illegal activities

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) has issued a warning to importers exploiting agricultural products.

One rice importer was set as an example by the agency after being caught illegally importing goods.

DA Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. revealed that the importer inaccurately declared the quantity of products.

Although it was labeled as ‘processed foods,’ the shipment actually contained agricultural products.

 “I will blacklist those smugglers, even if they are my friends. Because I know what they are doing and we are just gathering proof. Because that’s economic sabotage. Smugglers are destroying industries by undercutting everyone due to their illegal acts,” said Sec. Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr., Department of Agriculture.

DA to blacklist 4 more rice importers due to agri smuggling

In addition, four more importers of rice, fish, and sugar are set to be added to be blacklisted, although the Secretary has not disclosed their names.

The Secretary emphasized that there will be no exceptions, even if the importers are personally known to him.

Furthermore, one importer allegedly attempted to bribe him to facilitate the entry of smuggled goods.

“We caught them bringing the container to the condemnation facility, and transferring it to another truck to sell. We caught them, we burned everything. Initially, I was bribed P250,000 per container [20 containers], then it went up to P1-M per container,” said Sec. Tiu.

As a response, the DA is set to establish a memorandum of understanding with the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

This agreement will deputize DA Inspectorate and Enforcement team members to inspect imported shipments, aiming to bolster efforts against rampant smuggling in the Philippines.

BFAR: Fishermen will lose income due to rampant smuggled fish in the market

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) warns that local fishermen will be greatly affected if smuggled fish flood the market— as the price of local fish will plummet due to cheaper but smuggled fish.

“The concern for food safety arises when these products that do not undergo the necessary regulatory requirements end up in the market. Aside from potentially affecting prices, this also jeopardizes the public’s safety in consuming them,” said Nazario Briguera, Spokesperson, BFAR.

Meanwhile, private rice importers welcomed DA’s actions.

Rowena Sadicon, lead convenor of the Philippine Rice Industry, emphasized the need for proper processes and accurate documentation to identify those who are involved.

“Perhaps we just need the proper process and correct documentation to truly identify who these importers are,” said Rowena Sadicon, Lead Convener, Philippine Rice Industry

The Cold Storage Examine Facility on Agriculture (CEFA) in Angat, Bulacan, is expected to be operational next year.

This facility will play an important role in preventing smuggled products from entering the Philippines.

They also plan to establish additional CEFA facilities in Subic, Manila, and General Santos.


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