DA, BOC raid 3 warehouses full of smuggled veggies

By Mar S. Arguelles


Agriculture Secretary William Dar on Tuesday, Oct. 19, said the ongoing investigation on the importation of smuggled vegetables from China has resulted in the raid of at least three warehouses owned by big-time smugglers in Metro Manila and Subic Zambales.


Dar in an ambush interview in Legazpi City said the DA, and the Bureau of Customs (BoC) have stepped up a surveillance operation to pin down suspected smugglers of imported vegetables especially cheap imported carrots which according to the report have been flooding the local markets in Metro Manila.


Dar said the BOC-initiated raids have confiscated multi-million worth of smuggled agricultural products and it is preparing the filing of charges against three businessmen engage in the smuggling of imported vegetables.

AGRICULTURE PROGRAM Agriculture Secretary William Dar explains the One DA Agenda: Key Strategies in Transforming Philippine Agriculture at the MOA signing for the implementation of the Provincial-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Services in Albay in preparation for the "Full Devolution" under the Mandanas Ruling. (PHOTO BY MARIO ARGUELLES)


When asked about the identities of the alleged big-time smugglers, he beg off to name them pending the formal filing of the case.


Dar has turned over P38 million worth of production inputs, farm equipment to various farmer groups, irrigators associations during his visit to Albay.


He also led the signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara and other parties involved in the implementation of the Provincial-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Systems (PAFES).


Dar has declared PAFES, a modality of implementing the Agri and fisheries extension services in the provinces, as necessary to pave the way for the impending implementation of “full devolution” as stipulated in the Mandanas Ruling to take effect in 2022.


PAFES is being piloted in selected provinces. In the Bicol region, the province of Albay has been selected as the pilot province.


The country's agriculture chief also turned over P29.5 million worth of farm machinery and equipment to various farmers' associations in Albay comprising of 14 units 4Wheel Drive Tractors and six units of Rice Combine Harvesters.


He also disclosed that the transfer of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) whose function is related to agriculture is forthcoming.


He said the move to transfer NIA to the DA has been supported by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Finance, “we are just waiting for the Executive Order to be signed by the President,” he added.