Anti Smuggling Act passed, awaits P-Noy’s signature
By Brando Cortez
The Abono Party-List, in behalf of the Filipino farmers, expressed happiness about the passage of the anti-smuggling of agricultural commodities bill by both houses of Congress.
“We believe that this will eventually help the country achieve food self- sufficiency and food security,” Abono chair Rosendo So said.
The authors of both bills in the House and in the Senate agreed to adopt the Senate version (SB 2923) so as to expedite the process given the limited time before Congress adjourns. As such, the bill now awaits the signature of the President, in Malacanang.
So said the Agriculture Anti Smuggling Act of 2015 will hopefully put an end to smuggling of agricultural products such as rice pork, chicken, onions, garlic and sugar among others.
So made the statement even as he lamented that the smuggling of agricultural commodities continuea to flood the domestic market and negatively impacted on commodity prices, production volumes and government revenue.
“The unfair competition by smuggled agricultural commodities in the domestic market has caused farm gate prices to dip along with production volume,” So said.
“Imagine the lost government revenues because of smuggling and its impact on local farmers who cannot compete with lower priced smuggled goods,” he added.
He said the House of Representatives passed House Bill No. 6380 entitled “An Act Declaring Smuggling as a Crime Involving Economic Sabotage, Prescribing Penalties Therefor and for Other Purposes.”
So expressed his gratitude eto all the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura and the farmers who gave their support for the approval of the measure.
HB 6380 is a consolidation of the bills filed by Rep. Conrado M. Estrella III (Abono Party-list) and Rep. Francisco Emmanuel R. Ortega II (Abono Party-list) HB 4767 substituted with HB 6209; Rep. Miro Quimbo (LP) HB 6259; Rep. Delphine Gan Lee ( AGRI Party-List) HB 6171; Agapito Guanlao (Butil Party-List) and Mark Villar (NP) HB 6306.
The Senate, on the other hand, passed Senate Bill 2923 entitled ““An Act Declaring Large Scale Agricultural Smuggling as Economic Sabotage, Prescribing Penalties Therefor and for Other Purposes.”
SB is a consolidation of related bills filed by Senator JV Ejercito SB 2092; Senator Grace Poe SB 2348; and Senator Cynthia Villar SB 2765.
So said the Agriculture Anti Smuggling Act of 2015 will address the scourge of large scale agricultural smuggling that has resulted in decreased domestic production, threatening the country’s food security.
“This will serve as a strong deterrent against rampant smuggling of agricultural products such as rice, pork, chicken, onions, and garlic among others,” So said.
In a text message, Sinag said the Agriculture Anti Smuggling Act of 2015 is one shining moment in the struggle against smuggling.
“Amidst the gloom of the past days as smuggling continues to devastate the local agriculture industry right this very minute; this is one shining moment that we can all be proud of,” Sinag said. “Tuloy-tuloy lang po tayo sa ating pagkakaisa na labanan ang smuggling at iba pang mga patakaran at programa na nagpapahirap at lalong naglulugmok sa ating industriya!”
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