AN ALLIANCE of agriculture product suppliers and producers on Wednesday renewed its threat to conduct a five-day “market holiday” if the government still will not put a stop to the continued smuggling of their products.
“When before we planned to stage a pig and poultry holiday, now we’re raising the bar. We do not want to come to that point, but the continued inaction leads us to the strong possibility of a market holiday to dramatize our point,” said Abono party-list organization Chairman and Swine Development Council Director Rosendo So.
The alliance, which includes the fisheries advocacy group Tambuyog; the onion growers association KASAMNE; rice farmers group PAKISAMA; and pork and poultry raisers associations, claimed that the unabated smuggling has not only threatened their own livelihoods but also the food security of the country.
The animal raisers had earlier deferred a pig and poultry holiday after the Bureau of Customs agreed to put an end to smuggling but instead, according to the alliance, “the situation only become worse.”
Arsenio Tanchuling of Tambuyog and Gregorio San Diego of the United Broilers Association pointed out that proof of rampant smuggling can be easily seen in wet markets and restaurants.
“Anyone doubting smuggling need only go the market where anyone can buy pink salmon and dory from our markets despite the clear ban under the law on these fishes which are not indigenous here,” Tanchuling explained.
Pro-Pork Chairman and President Edwin Chen said that one of the actions the alliance is demanding the Customs Bureau take is to release the inward-forward manifest, a list of the goods coming in from abroad on a specific vessel. This allows for transparency and alerts the agriculture sector of incoming agricultural imports.
In addition, the group also asked for a 100 percent inspection of shipments, an increase in the reference price of goods, and the clean-up of the accredited importers list.
The alliance added that despite earlier promises to assist agricultural producers, Biazon has failed to even complete his investigation into the top meat and foodstuffs importers who often misdeclare their importations. (GMA News)