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Stronger sanctions are sought against government executives involved in agricultural smuggling.

Cebuano Cebuano English English Filipino Filipino


Rep. Wilbert Lee of the AGRI Party list recommended the adoption of a bill on Friday to impose harsher punishments on public officials or employees participating in this crime in light of the country’s ongoing large-scale agricultural smuggling problem.

Lee emphasized the need to penalize not only the illegal importers but also “public officials or workers who tolerate, support, or take part” in agricultural smuggling, stockpiling, and other market abuses when he pushed for the approval of House Bill 5742.

If those who are meant to defend and advance the public interest are also engaged in agricultural smuggling, he declared in a statement, “the agriculture sector will not advance and concerns connected to it will not be resolved.”

As agents of the public, government employees and officials must be strictly enforced. They should only use the authority and status that have been given to them for the good of everyone, not only for themselves or a select few, Lee stated.

The “Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016,” which was inadvertently written by the AGRI Party list, is amended by HB 5742.

Other illegal market abuses, such as hoarding, profiteering, or cartel activity, among others, will be classified as economic sabotage under the proposed legislation in addition to large-scale agricultural smuggling.

Any person who violates the provisions of the measure faces a penalty of up to life in prison, a fine of up to twice the fair value of the agricultural product that was being smuggled or that was the subject of hoarding, profiteering, or cartel activity, as well as the total amount of the taxes, duties, and other charges avoided plus interest at the applicable legal rate.

According to HB 5742, anyone found to have committed one of these offenses must “suffer the maximum penalties” allowed by the law as well as the extra penalties of “perpetual absolute disqualification” from holding public office and from voting in and taking part in any public elections.

With the harsher punishment, Lee expressed his hope that it will prevent public servants and employees from taking part in large-scale agricultural product hoarding, smuggling, and other market abuses, protecting Filipino farmers and boosting agricultural output.

“Dahil talamak pa rin ang agricultural smuggling, dehadong-dehado ang ating mga magsasaka at lalong nababaon sa kakapiranggot na kita,” he said. “Our farmers are in a very precarious position and will find themselves deeply in debt due to low revenue.

“In order to put the batas into action to solve the crime, bukod sa tataas ang producsyon at kita ng mga magsasaka, tataas din ang kita ng gobyerno, na magagamit sa serbisyo para sa mga Pilipino. When that happens, Winner Tayo Lahat Along with seeing an increase in the productivity and income of farmers, (by preventing this crime through the harsher application of the law, there would be an increase in government funds that will be used for services to Filipinos. If this happens, everyone wins,” added Lee.


Cebuano Cebuano English English Filipino Filipino


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