MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Committee of the Whole will continue its investigation on Monday into the large-scale smuggling of agricultural products that is affecting both farmers and fishermen while hampering the country’s economic recovery amid the pandemic.
The chairman of the commission, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, will give a privileged speech on the smuggling of agricultural products as well as on the problems of the Customs Office.
The hearing will also discuss the proliferation of illegally traded Chinese vegetables in the market.
Sotto, who is running for vice-president, previously told reporters that today’s investigation will focus on additional documents and testimony regarding the smuggling of vegetables, fruits and fish, which the panel obtained .
Since the enactment of the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act (Republic Act 10845) in 2016, not a single smuggler has been convicted despite billions of pesos seized by the customs office, according to Sotto.
Last month, the peasant group Anakpawis criticized the agriculture ministry for failing to prevent the alleged smuggling of vegetables and other agricultural products.
Citing data from the farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Anakpawis said smuggling of vegetables from China has been taking place since 2007.
Watch the Senate investigation INHABITwho will start 10am. Monday, March 28, 2021.