• Onion growers ask Aquino for help

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    The onion and garlic growers opted to approach President Benigno Aquino 3rd and asked him to help them stop the alleged “perversion” of some officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the failure of authorities to stop the illegal smuggling of onions and garlic in the country.

    In a statement, Sibuyas ng Pilipino Ating Alagaan (Sipag) President Francisco Collado and more than 100 farmers and onion growers, asked President Aquino to stop the agriculture department from issuing import permit to a group, which they claimed is just a syndicate.

    “Ang pagbaha ng imported na sibuyas at bawang sa bansa ay pumapatay sa aming kabuhayan dahil bagsak ang presyo ng mga sibuyas at bawang galing China at Vietnam o karatig bansa,” Collado explained.

    He added that, “Ang problema, e, kasabwat ang Bureau of Plant Industry [BPI] at Agriculture officials pa sa pagbibigay ng import permit sa iisang tao lang naman.”

    It was reported on television last week that a certain Leah Cruz was the only one being given import permit for onions and garlic by the BPI. According to lawyer Ariel Jawid of Sipag, Cruz is bringing in hundreds of containers of onions in the country monthly.

    “Kinopo na ni Cruz o ginawang monopolya na ng taong ito ang nasabing importation na labag naman sa ating konstitusyon,” Jawid added.

    Sipag is also asking Aquino to investigate the importation of onions and garlic to know why the BPI and DA are allowing Cruz to allegedly monopolize the importation of the said agricultural products.

    The group claimed that they already complained to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala about this problem, but Alcala failed to act on it, bringing them to a conclusion that there is an alleged conspiracy between Cruz and some agriculture officials.

    “Kaya kay Pangulong Aquino na namin dadalhin ang isyung ito dahil tiyak na kikilos ito para na rin sa kapakanan naming maliliit,” Collado added.

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