Farmers support strengthening of Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act

Dismantle the organized cartel and mafia in agriculture

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today expressed support for the bills proposing amendments to Republic Act 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016. In a hearing today, the Senate Committees on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform joint with Justice and Human Rights; Ways and Means; and Finance deliberated on several bills aiming to strengthen and make effective the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act to make the Anti-Agricultural Economic Sabotage Act.

Aside from agricultural smuggling, several measures are proposed to include hoarding, profiteering, cartel, and other market abuses as punishable acts. Legislated in 2016 during the Aquino administration, the law was proven ineffective in curbing rampant agricultural smuggling over the years.  

“Bukod sa anti-smuggling, tama na idagdag ang umiiral na kalakaran ng hoarding, profiteering at operasyong cartel sa mga amyenda sa RA 10845. Nakita na hindi naging sapat at epektibo ang batas sa pagsawata sa malaganap na iligal na mga gawaing ito na lalong nagpapabigat sa kalagayan ng ating mga magsasaka at konsyumer.”

“Ilang dekada nang umiiral ang large-scale smuggling, hoarding, profiteering at operasyong cartel na isinasagawa ng mga “institutionalized cartel” sa iba’t-ibang industriya sa agrikultura — bigas, livestock, gulay, bawang at sibuyas, asukal at iba pa,” according to KMP leader Danilo Ramos.  

KMP said the legislators should consider declaring as “heinous crime” acts of large-scale agricultural smuggling, hoarding, profiteering, cartel, and other market abuses. “No one is having a day in court. Worse, the ring leaders behind such vile acts can continue with their businesses and operations. It is very likely that they are receiving special treatment and protection from government higher-ups that even several Anti-Smuggling Task Forces put up by the Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Customs have become laughing stocks.”

“We are all for punishing the masterminds and entire network of organized mafia within the agriculture industry,” the KMP leader added. “Sa mga susunod na buwan, posible na namang pumalo sa P500 kada kilo ang presyo ng sibuyas. May suplay pero nasa hoarders na ang alam lang ay pagtubuan ng malaki ang mga agricultural products.”

“The Marcos Jr government, especially the DA, must also realize that such crimes of agricultural smuggling, hoarding, profiteering, and cartel have spawned from the state policy of unabated importation and liberalization.”

KMP noted that in the past four years of the Rice Liberalization Law, local rice farmers have lost P261 billion in income due to the influx of rice imports. In 2021, at the height of increasing pork prices, the government approved executive orders allowing the import of an additional 250,000 MT of pork products. Recent Sugar Orders issued by the DA and Sugar Regulatory Administration resulted in unlimited importation of sugar — 440,000 MT in 2022 and an additional 150,000 MT for this year. Smuggled sugar accosted by the BOC in ports was even sold by the DA.

KMP has submitted its position on the proposed amendments to RA 10845 to the Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar.

Read it here: ###

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