Sinag decries non-enforcement of anti-smuggling law by BOC

THE coalition of agriculture stakeholders, Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (Sinag), decried the continued failure of government to enforce the anti-smuggling law, almost two years after it was passed.

Sinag chairman, Engr. Rosendo So, told the KBP Forum Thursday that not a single person involved in smuggling has been arrested and charged in court.

He said there is already a law and government should take advantage of it.

He said that it had to take Senator Panfilo Lacson to file a case of smuggling, specifically a case for graft and economic sabotage against former Bureau of Customs commissioner Nicanor Faeldon over alleged involvement in rice smuggling.

He said Lacson filed the case before the Ombudsman, not with the Department of Justice (DOJ) because the senator seriously doubted that the case will prosper under DOJ.

While So said he was happy to see Lacson filing the case, senators or congressmen should not be the ones filing the case.

He expressed hope that Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña will also focus on smuggling of agricultural products.

“Customs has its records of names of consignee, shippers so BOC should file the case,” So said.

He warned that if Sinag decides to file cases, he would include BOC for failing to do its mandate and is therefore suspect.

So said when Sinag filed a case against a Davao City judge sued in 2014 for ordering the release of seized smuggled rice, the Supreme Court took note that it should be the BOC that should have filed the case.

Sinag lobbied for the passage of anti-smuggling law to help deter smuggling of agricultural commodities that have greatly affected millions of agricultural producers, especially in the last six years.

The anti-smuggling law provides for stiff penalties and non-bailable provision against suspected smugglers. (Eva Visperas)

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