DOJ backs bills declaring agri smuggling as economic sabotage

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Large-scale smuggling is a form of economic sabotage, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said yesterday.

In a two-page legal opinion, DOJ Assistant Secretary Adonis Sulit informed Mildred Yovela Umali-Hermogenes, deputy executive secretary of the Office of the President-Legal Affairs, that the agency supports the consolidated bills that declare large-scale agriculture smuggling as economic sabotage.

Hermogenes earlier asked the DOJ to comment on the consolidated enrolled bills, Senate Bill 2923 and House Bill 6380, or an act declaring large-scale agricultural smuggling as economic sabotage.

Sulit assured Hermogenes that the DOJ supports the proposed measure meant to curb, if not to eradicate, smuggling as a self-preservation measure of the state.

He said the proposed measure conforms with Section 1 of Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that the state should protect Filipino enterprises against foreign competition and trade practices.

The DOJ official described smuggling activities as a “double-edged sword.”

“While the smugglers bring down the prices of commodities that would somehow benefit the customers, the price fixed at its lowest level would eventually ease the local producers from the free market,” Sulit said.

He said smuggling deprives the government of the right to collect the correct revenue.

“Smugglers create an unfavorable condition for the local producers who are economic participants in a playing field that is disadvantageous to them,” the DOJ said.

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