Our food security depends on it.
Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson thus exhorted the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Tuesday to have a sense of urgency and speed up its processing of intelligence information on agricultural “smugglers” and their supposed protectors in government.
Lacson said that so long as these smugglers and protectors are not named and charged, a vicious cycle will continue where smugglers lie low immediately after a Senate hearing – then resume their activities after a few weeks.
“Pakibilisan ang processing ng intelligence para ma-file-an ng kaso ang dapat ma-file… Dapat may urgency nang kaunti (Please speed up the processing of intelligence information so we can file charges against those who should be charged… There should be a bit of urgency),” he said at the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing on agricultural smuggling, stressing that food security “is as important as economic security.”
“After the hearing, nakakalimutan natin ang lahat? We talk again of the next hearing but we lack in implementation and execution. Walang follow-through, that’s the problem (Once the hearing ends, do we just forget everything? We talk of the next hearing, but we lack in implementation and execution. Our problem is that we lack follow-through),” he added.
Lacson cited the observation of Agot Balanoy, the public relations officer of a group of Benguet-based farmers, that the volume of smuggled vegetables in markets would decrease after a Senate hearing – but increase after two to three weeks.
He said it is highly possible that the volume of smuggled vegetables in the markets will dip again after Tuesday’s Senate hearing – “but for how long?”
“Sabi nga ni Ms. Agot, pagkatapos ng hearing matumal ang smuggled vegetables sa merkado. After two to three weeks nadiyan na naman. Nandiyan sa frozen vegetables. Tiyak mawawala uli bukas but for how long (Ms. Agot said that after a hearing, the volume of smuggled vegetables in the market will go down but after two to three weeks, it will go back up. Certainly this may happen again tomorrow but for how long)?” he said.