February 6, 2023

Juan Kabayan

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P30-M smuggled white onions seized

THE Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Customs confiscated at least 100,000 kilos or 100 metric tons of smuggled white onions amounting to P30 million amid reports of proliferation of the illegally sourced bulbs in the country.

DA Assistant Secretary James Layug said that the smuggled white onions were discovered after authorities intercepted four forty-footer container vans.

Layug said authorities received an intelligence report on the container vans containing misdeclared agriculture products.

According to Layug, a composite team from the DA Wide Field Inspectorate (WFI), the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) inspected the vans that were declared as carrying “bread and pastries.”

“The discrepancy in the import documents of said shipments presupposes that it did not undergo any food safety regulations. This poses a great risk to our consumers,” Layug said.

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Layug added that the smuggled produce threatens the local agriculture and fishery industries, as cargoes may be carriers of transboundary diseases.

The cargo with an estimated weight of 100 tons or 100,000 kilos is valued at P30 million.

According to Layug, the DA will recommend to BOC the filing of appropriate cases.

Farmers’ group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) President Rosendo So has said that smuggled white onions have flooded the local wet markets, saying confiscated bulbs of the DA only represent 10 percent of the illegal products.