DA vows probe on smuggled carrots in PH market
MANILA, Philippines— The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday assured that reports of smuggled fresh carrots flooding the country’s markets will be investigated.
In a televised briefing, DA spokesperson Noel Reyes said the entry of fresh vegetables is prohibited as the government only allows frozen and processed mixed vegetables.
“Wala pong fresh vegetables na binibigyan ng permit mula sa ibang bansa kasama na po ang Tsina. Kasama na po rito yung fresh carrots. Ang binibigyan lang po ng permit ng Bureau of Plant Industry ay frozen mixed vegetables at processed lang po,” Reyes said.
(No fresh vegetables from other countries including China are given permission to enter the country. That includes fresh carrots. The Bureau of Plant Industry only gives permits to frozen mixed vegetables and those that are already processed.)
“We’re saying na smuggled po yan, magkakaroon po ng joint task force, iimbestigahan po yan ng DA, DTI [Department of Trade and Industry], Bureau of Customs at BIR [Bureau of Internal Revenue] yun pong mga reported na presence ng fresh carrots dyan po, lalo na sa Divisoria,” he added.
(We’re saying that these are smuggled. There will be a joint task force, the DA, DTI, Bureau of Customs and BIR will invetigate the reported presence of fresh carrots, especially in Divisoria.)
Benguet farmers have expressed alarm over the presence of smuggled carrots in the country’s markets as it hurts their livelihoods that have already been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Reyes warned the public against buying smuggled fresh vegetables.
“Bawal po talaga dahil po yan po ay wala sa ating food safety regulations. Hindi natin alam kung may peste yan o may sakit at meron pong mga pesticide residue level,” Reyes said.
(This is illegal because it’s not in our food safety regulations. We don’t know if that has pests or may cause illnesses and it might have high levels of pesticide residue.)