Feature

Who’s smuggling carrots?

Who’s smuggling carrots?

SURPRISE VISIT IN TANAUAN MARKET
CONFIRMS SMUGGLING IS THRIVING

By Manny Piñol

Tanauan City, Batangas – In the first leg of my 3-province swing for the Biyaheng Bukid, I made an alarming discovery which confirmed that in spite of government efforts, the smuggling of agricultural products is still a thriving business.

Visiting the Tanauan City Farmers Market with Mayor Antonio Halili and Party-list Cong. Rico Geron at noon yesterday, I saw boxes of carrots from China sold for P35 per kilo.

I am sure that carrots are not among the agriculture items covered by the Sanitary and PythoSanitary Permits which the Bureau of Plant Industry issues.

Immediately, I called up BPI Director Vivencio Mamaril and asked him about Carrots importation.

He told me that BPI issues import clearances for a small volume of Carrots for the use of 5-star hotels.

With what I saw, I assumed that the volume would not be small because of the presence of the Carrots from China in faraway Tanauan.

When I confronted the young Chinese trader where he got the Carrots, he said these came from importers based in Nueva Ecija.

There could only be one explanation and that is smuggling.

I assumed that there was a mis declaration on the volume of Carrots imported.

I instructed Agriculture officials to conduct an investigation.

When I will be back in Manila on Friday from Batangas, Oriental Mindoro and Romblon, I will look at the results of the investigation.

I assure our farmers that heads will roll.

If BPI officials or other Agriculture officials are involved, I will make sure they will be punished severely.

I will also meet with Customs Commissioner Nick Faeldon to work on ways to restrict and reduce smuggling operations involving agricultural products.

(Photos by Mayette Tudlas)

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