Legazpi City (Nov. 24, 2016) – Starting January of next year, all import licenses on agricultural products would have to go through the office of the Secretary of Agriculture.
This was announced by Secretary Emmanuel Pinol yesterday adding that it was one way of cutting what he called as, “the proliferation of smuggled products into the country.”
Pinol explained that he personally wanted to handle the problem that has long affected not only the government but also the local farmers.
The secretary said if products make their way into the country without the proper certification, “They are technically, smuggled.”
He pointed out that these would have a drawback on the government’s revenue collection and the income of the local agricultural industry.
Pinol also announced that they have started by cancelling all import permits for poultry, pork, beef, and other meat products.
He said that there are reports reaching his office that most of these importers are using “recycled” permits.
The former journalist suspects that single-issued documents are being used several times for the same transaction.
The secretary clarified that this so-called cancellation is not a ban on the product importation but a method of double-checking these import permits.
He said that he has already sent teams to various points-of-entries to check on the admission of these imported items.
Pinol stressed that if the inspectors find the permits to be anomalous, it will be negated right there and then.
The secretary made this reaction amidst reports that there was an upsurge in the market of imported meat products some of which are suspected to be smuggled.
At the moment, the initial action of the department, according to him, is to see to it that the import documents are in proper order.
Pinol reiterated that the long-term measure, he previously announced, starts at on January 2017 and will cover not only meat products but other imported agricultural products as well like garlic and onions. (J. Garalde)