Senate President Vicente Sotto III today said a vote for the Lacson-Sotto tandem in the May 9 elections would be a vote equivalent to the protection of the agriculture industry and its sectoral players and the prosecution of vegetable smugglers and their backers.
Sotto said that if he and Sen. Panfilo Lacson win in the coming elections, they will ensure that agricultural criminals would be charged within a year of their administration, and convicted and sent to jail before their six-year term ends.
Sotto also appealed to farmers, fisherfolks, and poultry and hog raisers to help the Lacson-Sotto tandem in May. He noted that the tandem can help unmask criminal syndicates behind “agricultural smuggling” in the country.
The Bureau of Customs has said that 103 cases related to agricultural smuggling have been filed from 2016 to March 2022. The total value of the goods involved in these cases add up to P1.35 billion, including duties and taxes. The National Prosecution Service said it filed agricultural smuggling-related cases only against four people, one of which has been dismissed due to lack of evidence.
The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency said it has identified more than 20 possible “smugglers and players” who reportedly get protection from the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Customs.
He also vowed that the Lacson-Sotto tandem will dismantle these criminal syndicates and send criminals in jail.
He added that this is necessary to uplift the lives of stakeholders in the country’s agriculture sector.
“Tututukan natin ang agriculture industry nang sa gayon ay manatiling maayos ang suplay ng ating bigas at fishery, meat and chicken products. Sa pamahalaang Lacson-Sotto, aangat ang buhay ng mga Pinoy,” Sotto said.