Last Aug. 13, 2022, indigenous youth and advocates signed a manifesto of unity affirming their support to stop the vegetable smuggling issue affecting farmers in the Cordillera region, Philippines. The manifesto was a conclusion to “Gulay Ko, Buhay Ko: A Discussion On Vegetable Smuggling in the Cordillera” organized by Kabataan Partylist La Trinidad, Progressive Igorots for Social Action, and Cordillera Peoples Alliance as part of the month-long celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (IDWIP).
“We demand our government to take a firmer stance against this issue that is continuously negatively affecting the livelihoods of its citizens. We demand for a stronger implementation of all existing anti-vegetable smuggling laws. Together, we can stop the economic sabotage happening in our region, as well as to the whole of the nation, and achieve justice for our farmers and ourselves," the manifesto reads.
Prior to the manifesto signing, Ampi Mangili of Alyansa Dagiti Pesante ti Taeng Kordilyera (APIT TAKO) provided an input on the history of vegetable smuggling, stressing that it was a problem created by the liberalization of agriculture alongside the loose regulation of imports in the country. Representatives from the sectors of the youth, urban poor, professionals, and the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center served as reactors in the event.
Vegetable smuggling is a long-time issue among farmers and gardeners and it has brazenly worsened over the years of the pandemic. At present, Benguet farmers reported a loss of Php 2.5 million daily due to smuggling of vegetables from China. Farmer groups are already protesting the inaction of government officials on the said issue, only for some of their leaders to be redtagged into silence.
NO TO VEGETABLE SMUGGLING! SAVE OUR FARMERS!