Agri smuggling a conspiracy, says Imee

Senator Imee Marcos on Wednesday said the wide-scale smuggling of agricultural products in the country remained to be the biggest problem of the agriculture sector in the country.

In a radio interview, Marcos, eldest sister of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who concurrently chairs the Department of Agriculture, attributed the continuous rampant smuggling of agricultural products to a “conspiracy” of smugglers with certain officials from DA and the Bureau of Customs.

“From what I understand, targeting smugglers is their number one priority because in reality it really causes us a lot of problems,” she said.

“They are hopeless, maybe they are friends with the DA and BoC because nobody has been arrested yet. We know the identity of those people,” she added.

Marcos named a certain Michael Yang and Leah Cruz as vegetable smugglers, and Davidson Tan-Bangayan as a rice smuggler.

The lady senator also called an Agriculture official from “sleeping” on these smugglers of agricultural products.

“Before they have DA Field Inspector Laciste, now they have a new official — Asec. James Layug. Wake up! The big-time smuggling is really scary,” Marcos said.

‘Sugar smuggler’

The lady lawmaker also named a certain Henry Joel Teves from Nauhan, Oriental Mindoro, as involved in the sugar smuggling in the country.

“Who is this Henry Joel Teves? It looks like everyone knows these people but nobody arrested them.”

Marcos underscored the grave effects of smuggling agricultural products into the country.

“What is worse is they also manipulate the prices, they are using cooperatives and farmers,” she lamented.

Next DA chief

Meanwhile, Marcos said that the next head of the Agriculture department must be someone who has expertise in agriculture.

“During my father’s time, he always put a technocrat there because they know agriculture very well,” she said.

“You cannot just put someone you owe a debt of gratitude with or family members. You cannot do that. Agriculture is highly technical, it is science,” she added.

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