We express our support for Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile's challenge to the Senate to crack down on food smuggling rings and address food security in the country.
Food security is a national security matter so I call on colleagues in government to get to the bottom of food smuggling rings to help ensure the sustainability of local agriculture.
We are ready to get to the bottom of this latest attempt at smuggling agricultural produce into the country. It is hoped that by getting to the bottom of this reprehensible act we will prevent its repeat. Flooding the market with smuggled rice deprives our rice farmers of their incomes and serves as a major disincentive for them to continue planting rice. It severely undermines our rice sufficiency program because it takes away from the farmers the opportunity to get fair market prices for their produce.
Smuggling is the surest way to drive our local farmers and fisherfolk out of business and kill our local agricultural industry. This is one major factor why we are unable to bring our farmers out of poverty, and the smuggling of agricultural products threatens our food security efforts.
Rampant smuggling must be stamped out if food security is to be achieved for close to 100 million Filipinos.
When we undertake this investigation on the incident of smuggling and other incidents of smuggling, we are actually addressing a national security matter. Smuggling threatens the existence of our agricultural industry, and without an agricultural industry, up to 60% of our labor force will lose their jobs, the prices of food will skyrocket, and we could be facing a serious food crisis in the coming years.
This is why the problem of smuggling is a national problem, and we—government and the private sector alike—must put an end to this once and for all.