‘Smuggled’ onions being sold online — Bureau of Plant Industry

‘Smuggled’ onions being sold online, says Bureau of Plant Industry official

/ 01:04 PM February 27, 2024

PHOTO: Close up of red onions. STORY: 'Smuggled' onions being sold online, says Bureau of Plant Industry official

Close up of red onions. (File photo from the Bureau of Customs)

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) on Tuesday said that allegedly smuggled onions are being sold via digital platforms and that it is coordinating with authorities to arrest the matter.

“Rest assured that we are coordinating with the proper authorities, law enforcement units. As soon as we received the information, we already coordinated with them,” BPI Director Gerald Glenn Panganiban said in a press conference in Manila.


Panganiban also said law enforcers were “very cooperative” as soon the agency sent a letter informing them of the online selling of the allegedly smuggled onions.


The BPI top official further said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) pledged to put out a memorandum on their regional offices and local enforcement authorities to assist in tracing and verifying the source of these onions.

“We are aware [of this situation], and we take this opportunity to inform people that if it does not have proper documentation and has not been inspected, there may be a risk to our health if we consume it,” he added, speaking partly in Filipino.

READ: Probe online sale of smuggled produce, AGRI lawmaker urges

Agri Party-list Rep. Wilbert Lee said they received complaints both from consumers and farmers about the sale of allegedly smuggled onions and other produce.

Lee said farmers are losing as much as P10,000 to P15,000 per month per hectare as the onions sold online are cheaper than their farm-gate price.

According to the lawmaker, onions for sale on online platforms are priced from P15 to P20 a kilo, much lower than the prevailing price of P50 to P120 per kg in the markets.


“First complaint, how can they return what they bought? There’s a bit of a worm inside. It’s not good anymore. It looks like it’s rotten,” Lee said in Filipino.

READ: Raps filed vs 40 onion smugglers, price manipulators, says DA

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“We cannot blame them if they go where it’s cheaper and buy cheaper onions because prices of goods are high amid the hardships of life,” he added.

TAGS: agricultural smuggling, Bureau of Plant Industry, smuggled onions

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