SINAG urges Faeldon to charge garlic/onion smugglers with economic sabotage
An agriculture and fisheries interest group, the Samahang Industriya sa Agrikultura (SINAG), is urging Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to file charges of economic sabotage against two firms that attempted to smuggle 87 containers of onions in to the country.
“This is the litmus test on both the resolve of the Duterte government to combat smuggling and the effectiveness of the recently signed law – RA 10845, that decreed the smuggling of agricultural products as an act that constitute economic sabotage,” said Rosendo So, SINAG Chair.
“We are hoping that this time, these smugglers will be apprehended, charged and punished accordingly. Many in the agriculture sector voted for President Digong because of his campaign promise to end smuggling,” added So.
In a statement, SINAG said two consignees abandoned 87 containers worth at least P130 million claiming that the onion, garlic, and ginger shipments were already rotting. Upon inspection, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service Officer-in-Charge Roberto Salvacion said only nine containers were actually rotting and that the rest were still plugged to electricity to prevent them from spoiling.
“Nung una, sinubukan nilang ilabas ang siyam (9) na containers pero nahuli ito. Then, they wanted that these shipments to be inspected at their warehouse, hindi kami pumayag dahil dapat sa mismong pantalan pa lamang ang inspection (They tried to sneak off with nine containers but they were caught. Then they asked that the shipment be inspected in their warehouse, we didn’t agree because inspection should only be done in the ports). Next thing we knew, they are already abandoning their shipments citing decomposition. Most of the shipments were declared as garlic, but the content was onion,” So said.
Under RA 10845, the amount of smuggled agricultural product subject to economic sabotage is equal or more than Php10 million for rice, and equal or more than Php1 million for other agricultural products such as sugar, corn, pork, poultry, garlic, onion, carrots, fish and cruciferous vegetables.
The penalty for economic sabotage is 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.