Press Release
May 27, 2016

Villar hails signing of law against agricultural smuggling

Sen. Cynthia Villar hailed the signing into law of the bill imposing stiffer penalties against the smuggling of agricultural products.

Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and principal sponsor of the bill, said the law boosted the campaign against smuggling which continues to threaten the livelihood of farmers as well as the food security in the country.

Republic Act No. 10845 or the act declaring large-scale agricultural smuggling as economic sabotage was signed into law by President Aquino last May 23.

"With this measure now enacted, we have a better shot at curbing the perennial problem of smuggling in the agriculture sector. Harsher penalties are now imposed to serve as deterrent to smuggling activities," Villar said.

The Nacionalista Party senator also expressed optimism that the process of prosecution will largely improve with smuggling now a non-bailable charge.

Under the law, the amount of smuggled agricultural product subject to economic sabotage is equal or more than P10 million for rice, and equal or more than P1 million for other agricultural products such as sugar, corn, pork, poultry, garlic, onion, carrots, fish, and cruciferous vegetables.

Violators will face a penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural product and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties and other charges avoided.

"Economic saboteurs deserve to be severely punished under this new law. They threaten the livelihood of small and subsistence farmers because the presence of smuggled products unjustly lowers market price, making it almost impossible for locally-produced goods to compete," she added.

Villar also authored seven other bills on agriculture signed recently by the president; namely, RA 10848 (Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund extension act), RA 10817 (Halal Act), RA 10816 (Farm Tourism Act), RA 10825 (Marine hatchery in Surigao City and Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte), RA 10826 (Marine nursery in Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat), RA 10813 (Multi-species freshwater hatchery in Jabonga, Agusan del Norte), and RA 10787 (Marine hatchery in Lingig, Surigao del Sur).

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