Press Release
March 6, 2018


SENATOR JV Ejercito has called on the government to relentlessly implement the anti-agricultural smuggling law to ensure the livelihood of Filipino farmers.

"Agricultural smuggling is 'killing' our farmers. Sa tuwing pumapasok sa ating bansa ang smuggled na bigas, sibuyas, bawang, at iba pang produktong agrikultural, mababa ang presyong sa palengke kasi wala binayarang buwis o tariff. Our farmers can't compete with the prices of smuggled goods because their capital is already high. Kaya wala na ring tutubuin," Ejercito said in a statement. The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, in which he is a member, is inquiring into the shortage of NFA (National Food Authority) rice stock.

Ejercito is one of the authors of Republic Act 10845, or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act, which defines large-scale agricultural smuggling as economic sabotage and prescribes harsh penalties for individuals found to be engaged in the illegal activity.

He expressed disappointment over the failure of the government to indict suspected agricultural smugglers, especially rice smugglers, despite the enactment of the law in 2016.

"Since its enactment, it's disappointing to find out that the Bureau of Customs was only able to file 3 cases in the DOJ. Meaning, we are not utilizing the law," he said.

He said the Bureau of Customs, law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) should work closely to put a stop to agricultural smuggling by "throwing the book on smugglers."

"The overarching issue of the claimed NFA rice shortage is agricultural smuggling. As long as agricultural smugglers are in business, the source of livelihood of our farmers is in peril," Ejercito said."

He added: "The government should protect our farmers and such should not be taken for granted. I will see to it that our laws will bring about results in the future."

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