Importation 'modus' for onions revealed in House inquiry(Ellson Quismorio/ MANILA BULLETIN)






The happy days of onion "cartel" players are numbered. 

Thus, said Cavite 4th district Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. at the heels of the National Bureau of Investigation's (NBI) filing of criminal charges for profiteering against six individuals in connection with the hoarding and price manipulation of onions. 

Barzaga said that the filing of charges "only shows that the President [Marcos] is really bent on going after these agricultural smugglers and hoarders. It proves that the Chief Executive means business." 

"Your time has come," the former National Unity Party (NUP) president said, in a message directed at cartel members. 

Barzaga is a senior member of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food, which has been investigating the price manipulation of onions and other agricultural products. The solons learned during the lengthy inquiry that hoarders play a key part in creating an artificial supply shortage of a given produce like onions. 

This "shortage" is then exploited by the controlled release of the hoarded goods when local prices have skyrocketed. 

The House of Representatives has been cooperating with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the NBI in going after the onion cartel. Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, himself a former Cavite congressman, heads the DOJ. 

"The majority of the information was unearthed during the House hearings. This is a long-standing national problem and perhaps, time has finally come for a real campaign against agricultural smuggling and hoarding, a modus which hurts the public tremendously," Barzaga said. 

“The government can get serious when it wants to and when it needs to address agricultural smuggling. This is just the tip of the iceberg and expect more agri smuggling cases to be filed in the near future," he further said.


Source: Manila Bulletin (