ISINUSULONG sa Senado ang pagpapataw ng parusang habambuhay na pagkabilanggo sa mga opisyal at empleyado ng pamahalaan na sangkot sa agricultural smuggling.
Inihain ni Senadora Risa Hontiveros ang Senate Bill No. 2205, na naglalayong amyendahan ang ilang probisyon ng Republic Act No. 10845, na kilala rin bilang Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act, upang gawin itong krimen para mga kawani at opisyal ng gobyerno na nakikipagsabwatan sa large-scale agricultural smugglers.
“While there have been numerous reports of seized smuggled products since the law’s enactment in 2016, no individuals, groups, or corporations have been prosecuted under this legislation,” paliwanag ni Hontiveros.
“There has been a lack of accountability for government officials who facilitate and support acts of agricultural smuggling that result in significant economic sabotage. Consequently, smuggling activities continue to occur with impunity,” pagbibigay-diin pa ng senadora.
Sa ilalim ng panukala ay idedeklarang economic sabotage ang anumang aksiyon ng isang public employee o officer na pinapayagan ang importasyon ng mga produkto nang walang kinakailangang import permit.
“In the ongoing sugar fiasco, for instance, documented evidence reveals that tens of thousands of metric tons of sugar—a regulated commodity—entered the country without a sugar order,” ayon pa kay Hontiveros.
“Additionally, the approval or issuance of any license, declaration, clearance, or permit by a public employee or officer, knowing that it is clearly unlawful, inequitable, or irregular, will also be considered economic sabotage,” nakasaad pa sa panukala.
Ang sinumang indibidwal na napatunayang guilty sa paglabag sa proposed measure ay papatawan ng habambuhay na pagkabilanggo at multa na katumbas ng dalawang beses ng fair value ng smuggled agricultural product, na kinabibilangan ng taxes, duties, at iba pang hindi binayarang charges, kasama ang interest sa legal rate.
“Agricultural smuggling is causing the government to lose billions of pesos in revenue every year. The smuggling of regulated agricultural commodities has also resulted in high prices for consumers, the violation of our competition laws, and most importantly, the further decline of our domestic agricultural sector,” dagdag ni Hontiveros sa explanatory note.
“It is time to hold government officials accountable for allowing smuggling to persist unchecked.”