House OKs bill amending anti-agri smuggling law

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on third and final reading the bill that seeks to strengthen the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling law by imposing heavier penalties against smugglers.

House Bill 9284, which was certified as urgent by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., was approved by 289 lawmakers, with no negative and abstaining votes. 

The proposed Anti-Agri-fishery Commodities and Tobacco Economic Sabotage Act of 2023 wants to “impose higher sanctions for large-scale smuggling, hoarding, profiteering, cartelizing, and other acts of market abuse of agri-fishery commodities or tobacco and to public officials or employees who take part in, tolerate, or consent to the doing of the same.”

It classifies such acts as economic sabotage, which the bill defines as an act or activity that undermines, weakens, or renders into disrepute the economic system or viability of the country.

Under the bill, the acts considered as economic sabotage have a penalty of life imprisonment, and a fine of six times the fair market value of the agri-fishery commodities or tobacco and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties and other charges avoided plus interest at the prevailing legal rate.

In a statement, House Speaker Martin Romualdez warned those involved in smuggling, hoarding, and cartel that their days are numbered.

“Once this bill is enacted, we will use its provisions to the fullest in order to prosecute these evil-doers who made our kababayans suffer," he added.

He also said that the bill will help realize Marcos’ “aspirations of affordable produce and food self-sufficiency.”