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MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has certified as urgent a Senate bill that defines and seeks to impose “severe sanctions” on agricultural economic sabotage, Malacañang said Thursday, September 21.
Marcos issued the certification was through a letter dated September 20, to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Senate Bill No. 2432 seeks to repeal Republic Act No. 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016. According to Malacañang, the measure is meant to protect farmers and fisherfolk from opportunistic traders and importers and ensure “reasonable and affordable” prices for agriculture and fishery consumer products.
The measure is going through the period of interpellations at the Senate. In the House, the proposal has hurdled the committee level and is bring scrutinized by a technical working group.
Under RA 10845, those found guilty of large-scale agricultural smuggling face the “penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural product and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties and other charges avoided shall be imposed on any person.”
Under SB 2435, the fine is increased to thrice the value of the smuggled agricultural and fishery products.
The proposed measure seeks to impose the other following sanctions:
- Government workers and employees who are accomplices in the crime would be perpetually barred from holding public office, exercising the right to vote, holding public office, or participating in public elections. They will also lose monetary and financial benefits from their employment.
- For juridicial persons or organizations, criminal liability is on all officers who led to the decision found to have commit the crime. Perpetual absolute disqualification to engage in agricultural and fishery businesses will also imposed on those found guilty.
Government may confiscate agricultural and fishery products used in the commission of the crime of agricultural economic sabotage as well.
The bill also seeks the creation of an anti-agricultural economic sabotage council.
The measure is part of the Common Legislative Agenda of the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council approved during a September 20 meeting.
Price spikes in rice earlier prompted Malacañang to impose a price cap on rice prices, which has been assailed by various groups, including economists, as a remedy worse than the disease. – Rappler.com