DA: Cases filed vs 40 ‘onion smugglers’

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

By SUNDY LOCUS, GMA Integrated News

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has filed cases against at least 40 alleged onion smugglers, an official said on Thursday.

“We have around 20 consignees who are on deck for filing cases under Republic Act (RA) No. 10845,” said DA Assistant Secretary James Layug during the Senate Finance subcommittee hearing on the agency’s P197.84-billion proposed budget for 2024.

“Right now, we have already filed 40 cases under the Anti-Agriculture Smuggling Law, another 10 under the Food Safety Act, and one more under the violation of the meat code,” he said.

These cases are currently under resolution in various prosecutors’ offices, including those in Bataan, Manila, and Batangas, he added.

“We are also coordinating with the special prosecutor’s office created by the DOJ specifically for handling smuggling cases,” said Layug.

In July, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the smuggling of onions and other agricultural products following the surge in onion prices in 2022.

The DOJ, in turn, formed the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Task Force and created a special team of prosecutors primarily focused on protecting the entire agricultural sector, not just the onion industry.

Last year, the prices per kilo of onions ranged from P500 to P720 in some markets.

These prices increased from P140 in September, P280 in November, P300 from December 12 to 16, P380 from December 19 to 23, and P720 on December 28. — BAP, GMA Integrated News

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