LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Bureau of Customs hailed the aggressive efforts of Benguet caretaker congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap and concerned agriculture industry stakeholders in keeping them on their toes to curb the smuggling of vegetables that directly compete with locally produced ones that is detrimental in sustaining the growth of the country’s agriculture sector.
Customs Assistant Commissioner lawyer Vincent Philip Maronilla disclosed that Yap, local officials and agriculture industry stakeholders had been constantly providing the bureau with vital information that led to the conduct of successful operations that resulted in their seizure and eventual destruction of smuggled vegetables in various parts of Metro Manila, Subic, Cebu and other strategic ports in the country over the past several months.
He added that in fact, the information provided by Yap yielded positive results in their anti-smuggling operations and the bureau is grateful to the combined efforts of the people of Benguet in working with them to curb the proliferation of smuggled vegetables in the negatively impacts on the province’s agriculture industry, being the major source of income for hundreds of thousands of residents in the town’s 13 towns.
For the past several decades, Benguet, as the Salad Bowl of the Philippines, and some parts of Mountain Province and Ifugao, had been the source of more than 80 percent of semi-temperate vegetables sold in the different markets around the archipelago.
Maronilla assured the people of Benguet and the Cordillera that the bureau will continue to aggressively conduct anti-smuggling operations to prevent the unscrupulous activities of smugglers in sneaking into the country vegetables that directly compete with locally produced ones.
Earlier, Congressman Yap lashed out at his detractors for continuously linking him to the smuggling of vegetables that have greatly affected the buying prices of locally produced ones, saying that he was never in the vegetable business and that he is wondering why there are unrelenting efforts to link him to such an illegal activity that is not within his vocabulary.
The lawmaker even volunteered to the BOC that he will be joining their anti-smuggling operations as a demonstration of his desire to curb this illegal activity that is slowly killing the province’s vegetable industry.
Congressman Yap vowed to continuously work for the overall welfare of the people of Benguet by providing them with genuine public service to help advance the state of the heavily impacted sectors due to the ongoing pandemic.