Bukod sa baboy at manok, nawawalan ng bilyon-bilyong piso ang gobyerno kada taon dahil sa katiwalian sa pag-import ng isda at iba pang produktong dagat.
Isiniwalat ito ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa pagpapatuloy ng pagdinig ng Senate Committee of the Whole tungkol sa iregularidad sa produktong agrikultura.
Kinwestyon ni Lacson ang malaking pagkakaiba sa datos ng World Trade Organization (WTO) at Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) tungkol sa pag-import ng isda at seafood mula 2015 hanggang 2020.
“The Department of Agriculture will have a lot of explaining to do. The discrepancies may mean there is a lot of misdeclaration, underdeclaration, or outright smuggling. There’s a pattern,” dugtong ng mambabatas.
Aside from pork and poultry, the government is also losing billions of pesos a year due to irregular practices involving the importation of fish and seafood products, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson bared Thursday.
Lacson questioned the huge discrepancies between the records of the World Trade Organization and the Philippine Statistics Authority in terms of fish and seafood importation from the top 15 exporting countries from 2015 to 2020.
“The Department of Agriculture will have a lot of explaining to do. The discrepancies may mean there is a lot of misdeclaration, underdeclaration, or outright smuggling. There’s a pattern,” he said at the second hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole on irregularities involving agricultural products.
“It’s not just in pork and poultry products where there are irregularities. It cuts across practically all FSRAs (food safety regulatory agencies). What action has the DA taken? The bottom line is that we have lost so much revenues – some P1.058 billion yearly from 2015 to 2020 in foregone revenues on imported fish and seafoods alone on account of all these discrepancies,” he added.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson expressed thanks over the weekend to the donors of COVID-19 vaccines that arrived in the Philippines recently, saying these give Filipinos hope of recovering from the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.
Lacson said the vaccines from China-based Sinovac, as well as AstraZeneca vaccines from the COVID-19 Vaccines Advance Market Commitment (COVAX AMC), will help achieve herd immunity that is a key to resuming economic activities.
“Always grateful to China and COVAX AMC for making us see a sliver of hope to achieve herd immunity,” he said on his Twitter account Friday evening, adding the P2.2-billion daily loss in household consumption and the 9.5-percent economic contraction was driving the country a step closer to insanity until the Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines arrived.
Lacson, one of the authors and the principal sponsor of the measure in the Senate, said the National ID system will promote financial inclusion and streamline government services – both of which are needed at this time.
“The lack of identification creates formidable barriers for the downtrodden and the poor, and creates even larger barriers between the government and the people. Hence, we should push for the implementation of the National ID if we want to further strengthen our response not only against the pandemic, particularly in the roll-out of the much-awaited vaccines, but in many of our future endeavors,” he said at the third annual economic and political briefing of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran Graduate School.
I hope the National Economic and Development Authority can fast-track the implementation of the National ID system, as directed by the President.
NEDA should have ample help from the Philippine Statistics Authority as the frontline agency, and the Department of ICT which plays a major role.
The first question is, is the system ready to accept registrants? If so, they should give priority to the marginalized sector, and those targeted for financial assistance because of the COVID-19 crisis.
We only need to look at how much the most prosperous countries spend on R&D to see why we are among the laggards. Even if we bump up the percentage to 1 or 2 percent of the national budget, it would make a major difference.