Agri dept probes alleged palm oil smuggling

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2022 01:59 PM

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The Department of Agriculture on Friday said it was investigating the alleged smuggling of palm oil into the Philippines, which according to a lawmaker resulted to some P45 billion in foregone revenue. 

Palm oil is allegedly smuggled into various ports as animal feeds, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said in a hearing this week. 

Used as animal feeds, palm oil can be imported into the Philippines at zero tariff, noted Agriculture Undersecretary Fermin Adriano. 
 
But he said some firms refine this into cooking oil. A 15-percent duty should have been collected for palm oil meant for human consumption, said the official. 

A worker harvests palm fruits at a palm oil plantation in Deliserdang, North Sumatra, Indonesia, March 15, 2022. Dedi Sinuhaji, EPA-EFE/File
A worker harvests palm fruits at a palm oil plantation in Deliserdang, North Sumatra, Indonesia, March 15, 2022. Dedi Sinuhaji, EPA-EFE/File

Adriano said it was difficult for the agriculture department to track whether imported palm oil was used as animal feeds or processed into cooking oil. 

“Kaya ginagawa po ng departamento ay nag-issue ng regulation last year, nung binigyan ng kapangyarihan na yung nag-iimport na 'yan, magkakaroon na sila ng report ng utilization, saan ba nila ginamit,” he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo. 

(That is why the department issued a regulation last year, which mandated importers to come up with a utilization report on how it was used.) 

"At ang ikalawang ginagawa po, iniimbestigahan po namin 'yung mga taong nagbibigay ng quarantine clearance, kung bakit nangyari 'yan. Meron na pong committee na na-form si Secretary [William] Dar para tingnan nang masusi 'yang bagay na 'yan," added the official. 

(The second step is we are investigating the people who have quarantine clearance, why that happened. Secretary Dar has formed a committee to look into that.)

— TeleRadyo, 22 April 2022