BUSINESSMEN behind the artificial shortage of market products may face criminal charges, which include economic sabotage, a non-bailable offense, says Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
Nograles specifically warned those whom he described as unscrupulous businessmen taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and the African swine fever emergency.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved a proposal creating a task group that will run after profiteers, hoarders, and smugglers of agricultural products.
Headed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), other government agencies forming the task group includes the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).
“Gusto habulin ni Pangulo at ng Department of Agriculture ang [yaong] mga pinagsasamantalahan ang pinagdadaanan natin ngayong pandemiya. Kailangan talagang parusahan ang nasa likod nito,” the Cabinet secretary said in an interview.
Nograles, who chairs the Task Force on Zero Hunger, floated the possibility that those who manipulate pork prices could face economic sabotage charges.
“Kasi ang pagsasamantala ng presyo, ‘yung pagmanipula ng presyo ng baboy ay nakakaapekto sa inflation ng bansa,” he said.
“Maaari po [economic sabotage] ‘pag nakita nating andun ang elements of the crime kasi very technical ang economic sabotage,” he added.