The foiled attempt to import sugar under dubious authority that forced the resignation of a top Agriculture official has not pacified Senator Imee Marcos’s ire against smugglers in government. Marcos renewed her tirade against the Department of Agriculture (DA) over the weekend, this time for the agency’s plan to import white onions due to an alleged shortage in supply.
“Let this serve as a fair warning to all concerned,” Marcos began. “We are aware of the modus operandi going on. It’s the same old story. Paulit-ulit na lang, eh (It just keeps repeating itself).”
“First, they smuggle. Then they create a shortage and produce a legitimate import permit,” the senator explained. “By next week, I have no doubt smuggled onions will flood the market covered by a ‘legitimate’ importation order of gargantuan proportions.”
At the height of the sugar import fiasco last week, some Php36 million worth of onions misdeclared as “spring roll patties” and “plain churros” were confiscated in Misamis Oriental.
Marcos remains unconvinced of a local shortage of white onions because the DA has not presented inventories of the crop vis-à-vis its planting and harvest seasons.
“The DA was urged to assess white onion shortage, as it was asked on sugar and porcine PAP (processed animal protein) shortages. Again, no data could be presented, just blanket claims that ‘Wala po talagang laman ang mga bodegang pinuntahan namin’ (The warehouses we inspected were really empty),” Marcos explained.
“Tama na, buking na! Hindi na kami magpapaloko (Quit it, you’ve been exposed! You can’t fool us anymore)!” the senator declared.(PR)