Big onions sold in Metro Manila likely smuggled: DA

Big onions sold in Metro Manila likely smuggled: DA

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) said Wednesday big onions being sold in some parts of Metro Manila about the size of a fist are likely smuggled.

In an interview, DA deputy spokesperson Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez said the approved 5,775 metric tons of imported onions have yet to enter the country.

Kasi according to the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), wala pang dumadating. Kasi sa first border control, wala pang nire-report na may dumating. Pangalawa, wala pang distribution plan, kung dumating man din. So, definitely, kung titingnan mo, (Because according to the Bureau of Plant Industry, nothing has come yet. (In the first border control, there hasn’t been a reported entry. Secondly, there’s no distribution plan yet, in case there has been a delivered [volume]. So, definitely if you look at this), these are smuggled,” he said.

Estoperez said they have received reports that these big onions are being sold in Marikina and Pasay cities.

The DA is also looking into its availability online.

May online daw ito. Kagabi nag-operate sila Asec. (Assistant Secretary for DA Inspectorate and Enforcement James) Layug, na-confiscate nila, mga 20 bags pa lang naman (This [is also available] online. Last night, Asec. Layug, they confiscated around 20 bags). But they are looking into this and they have coordination with the surveillance,” he added.

Estoperez said the DA is intensifying its efforts against smuggled agricultural products in coordination with other agencies like the Bureau of Customs and the National Bureau of Investigation.

Ito ‘yung sinasabi natin. Nag-issue ka ng SPSIC (sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance), tas nasa paligid lang pala ‘yung sibuyas, ‘yan ang iniingatan natin (This is what we’re saying. You issued a sanitary phytosanitary import clearance, then the [smuggled] onions are just around. That’s what we are cautious about),” he said.

The DA noted that the imported onions with issued SPSIC will enter the country either later this week or next week.

It earlier said the imported onions will be subdivided into Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao before the peak harvest season of onions, which is expected to help lower its prices ranging from PHP100 to PHP150 per kilogram.

To date, white onions sold at PHP150 per kilogram are available at the DA-Agribusiness Development Center Kadiwa site.

However, the DA said it has no longer control in sustaining the price.

Instead, its price depends on the cooperatives directly supplying the site, considering that the available onions at Kadiwa stores no longer get government subsidy. (PNA)

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