DEPUTY Speaker and Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (BUHAY) party-list Rep. Lito
Atienza strongly urged the House committee on ways and means to rush the approval of the amendments to the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA, R.A. 10863)—enforcing the mandatory pre-shipment inspection of container vans from ports of origin before being allowed into the country.
“I strongly urge the committee on ways and means chaired by [Albay Rep.] Rep. Joey Salceda to speed up the approval of the amendments to the CMTA making it mandatory that all container vans entering the country be inspected at their points of origin. Government agencies seem to be at a loss as to what comes into the country, and they have no updated figures regarding importation of agricultural products, specially now during the pandemic and the African Swine Fever. Hindi alam ni General Jonathan Ablang, head of the Department of Agriculture Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement for Security and Trade Office (DA-CREST-O) ang totoong nangyayari and kulang ang info ni [Agriculture] Secretary [William] Dar,” Atienza said during the meeting of the Committee on Ways And Means investigating the smuggling of agricultural products.
Atienza pointed out that the pre-inspection of cargo vans entering the country will finally stop the entry of shabu and other illegal drugs into the country.
There are almost 10,000 container vans entering the country each day, and only 300 of these are inspected, Atienza said.
This gives us a clear idea of how easy it is to smuggle contraband and illegal drugs today, he said.
Meanwhile, Atienza likewise mentioned with the implementation of pre-shipment inspection, the rampant smuggling of pork, chicken and other agricultural products that will also be addressed.
Aside from the smuggling of agricultural products, Atienza said the country also faces problems such as what Secretary Dar claims to be 1.2 million hectares of farm lands that lack adequate irrigation—all of which we have been hearing since the 1960’s. Ryan Ponce Pacpaco