Gov’t mulls sale of smuggled onions via Kadiwa
MANILA, Philippines — The government plans to sell at discounted prices the smuggled white onions it earlier seized, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Agriculture deputy spokesperson Rex Estoperez said the confiscated commodities that entered illegally into the country will need to undergo a phytosanitary test to determine if they are safe for human consumption.
“The order of the BOC (Bureau of Customs) and the Bureau of Plant Industry is to destroy them,” Estoperez said.
“Anything that is not permitted will really be destroyed. But we said it has to go through the phytosanitary inspection first and [Agriculture] Senior Undersecretary [Domingo] Panganiban said let’s look again. Maybe if microbes are present, it will affect our industry and then [the] people’s health. If not, then we will decide on the timeline, which should be next week or this week, that issue will be settled,” he added.
Once it passed the said test, the DA is considering selling the seized onions at the Kadiwa stores.
“If we will be allowed to sell the smuggled white onions, we can sell those at much cheaper prices,” Estoperez said.
“What is also important is it will be sold in the Kadiwa stores and won’t reach the markets,” he added.
Last month, local authorities seized 100 metric tons or 100,000 kilograns of white onions valued at P30 million.
“During the probe, the team found out that the shipment containing sacks of yellow onions was misdeclared as ‘bread/pastries.’
“The discrepancy in the import documents of said shipments presupposes that it did not undergo any food safety regulations,” the DA said earlier.
The agency would also submit a recommendation to the BOC for the filing of an appropriate case.
Onion prices remain steep as of Monday. Based on the DA’s monitoring, markets in Metro Manila sell local red onion for P280 per kg from P180 per kg a year prior.
Imported red onions, as well as local and imported white onions, are unavailable.
Last year, imported red onions and local white onions were not sold in the metropolis. Yet, in 2021, imported white onions retail for P80 per kg.