THE SENATE agriculture and food committee chair will propose changes to the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016 to categorically include profiteering, hoarding, and engaging in cartel as acts of economic sabotage.
“I will make the amendment to the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act to be explicit and very specific so that there will be no room for the implementers to interpret the intent and spirit of the law through the implementing rules and regulations,” Senator Cynthia A. Villar said in a statement on Monday.
“We will include hoarding, profiteering, and engaging in cartel, as forms of economic sabotage, and we will also increase the penalty under this law,” she added.
Republic Act 10845 classifies large-scale smuggling of agricultural products as economic sabotage, a non-bailable charge.
Large-scale is defined as at least P1 million worth for most agricultural commodities and P10 million for rice.
The proposed changes come after the cost of onions rose to as much as P750 per kilo despite farmers from Occidental Mindoro having sold them to traders for at least P8 per kilo during harvest season.
Ms. Villar said trade cartels have been hoarding the supply to manipulate prices of local onions. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan