Villar scolds Bureau of Plant Industry head over garlic cartels
Senator Cynthia Villar gave the head of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) a dressing down for the agency’s failure to stop the resurgence of garlic cartels, which are believed responsible for the rising prices of garlic in the market.
An angry Villar scolded BPI director Vivencio Mamaril when the committee on agriculture and food, which she chairs, conducted a hearing on rising garlic costs Monday morning.
Villar threatened to file charges against the BPI in behalf of garlic farmers if the agency would fail to prevent cartels and smugglers from thriving.
“Ako na mag-dedemanda sa inyo kung ayaw mag-demanda ng mga garlic farmers sa inyo. Kina-cartel n’yo ‘yung garlic. Pinapatay n’yo ang farmers,” (I will sue you if the garlic farmers don’t. You are cartelizing garlic. You’re killing the farmers) Villar said, addressing Mamaril.
“Bakit n’yo pinapatay ‘yung industry? Pinapatay n’yo ang industry para ‘yung cartel buhayin n’yo. Tigilan n’yo yan!,” (Why are you killing the industry? You want the industry to die so you your cartel would thrive? Stop that!) she said.
Villar added, “Pa-imbestigahan ko ‘yan sa competition commission. Ako magpa-file ng case.” (I will ask the competitive commission to investigate you. I will file a case.)
Villar chided Mamaril for giving an irregular list of importers that the BPI had given permits to import garlic. The list did not show the name of the owners, the complete address of the trading companies, the import quantity they applied for.
Mamaril asked the senator to give the BPI a day to submit a more comprehensive list.
But an irked Villar replied: “Tigilan n’yo na ako. Nagsasawa na ako sa inyo.” (Quit pulling my leg. I’ve had enough of you)
“Ayaw ko nang tataas ang garlic ng P200. Fouteen-pesos per kilo lang yan,” (I don’t want the price of garlic to reach P200. It should only be at P14) she added.
The Department of Agriculture earlier reported that 57,000 metric tons of garlic had been given import clearance by the BPI. As of May, some 12,140 metric tons had arrived. CBB/rga
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