Bill charging gov't execs involved in agri smuggling with economic sabotage filed | Inquirer News

Bill charging gov’t execs involved in agri smuggling with economic sabotage filed

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 11:22 AM May 17, 2023

Several shipments of refined sugar worth P150 million were discovered in the Subic Bay Freeport on March 2.

Several shipments of refined sugar worth P150 million were discovered in the Subic Bay Freeport on March 2, 2023. Picture courtesy of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority)

MANILA, Philippines— Opposition senator Risa Hontiveros has filed a bill seeking to penalize through a charge of economic sabotage government officials and employees who conspire with smugglers of agricultural products.

“It is time to hold to account government officials who allow smuggling to persist unfettered,” she said.


She observed, “there has been no prosecution of government officials for facilitating and abetting acts of agricultural smuggling that amount to large-scale economic sabotage. As a result, smuggling activities continue with impunity.”


Specifically, the lawmaker wants to declare as economic sabotage any act by a public employee or officer that allows the importation into the country without the needed import permit.

Under her bill, the approval or issuance by a public employee or officer of any license, declaration, clearance, or permit, knowing that it is manifestly unlawful, inequitable, or irregular, will also be considered economic sabotage.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, Hontiveros cited an instance.

“In the sugar fiasco that is still unfolding, for example, documented accounts show that tens of thousands of metric tons of sugar – a regulated commodity – were allowed into the country without a sugar order.”

READ: Hontiveros: Clearing release of imported sugar sans permit proves gov’t hand in smuggling

Hontiveros warned violators they could face life imprisonment and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural product, including the taxes, duties, and other charges avoided, plus interest at the legal rate.


The prescription period or the time within which charges can be filed is 20 years, she proposed.

“Agricultural smuggling is costing the government billions of pesos a year in lost revenues. The smuggling of regulated agricultural commodities has also led to high prices for consumers, the violation of our competition laws, and most importantly, the further decline of our domestic agricultural sector,”  the senator lamented.

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READ: Risa: Give smuggled sugar to poor 

TAGS: Agriculture, fraud, importation

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