Veggie importers blast pork scam comparisons
MANILA -- An association of vegetable importers and exporters denied that its operations can be likened to that perpetuated by those in the pork scam.
“The financial support that Vieva extends to farmers does not come from any pork barrel of senators or congressmen. It comes from its own resources,” Vegetable Importers, Exporters and Vendors Association of the Philippines or Vieva Philippines, Inc. chairperson Leah Cruz said in a statement.
According to Cruz, Vieva has long been in the industry, supporting the Department of Agriculture in its direct farm-to-market programs.
“To ensure that the supply of local vegetables and agricultural products is adequate and continuous and in the process also increase the productivity of its farmer-partners, Vieva also entered into an agreement with farmers wherein the association extends support to farmers not only in terms of soft loans as start-up capital but also technical assistance in the form of seedlings, farm inputs and trainings in coordination with DA,” she said.
She believes there is a multi-million peso campaign to discredit her and Vieva that is perpetuated by smugglers, ntoing that some individuals and media personnel are reversing the smuggling issue to hold them as the culprits.
She cited, for example, insinuations by certain individuals and media personnel showing their onions sold in a Sta. Rosa stall as imported and smuggled.
Cruz admitted there are no permits this year for imported onions, but those being shown in the media are local harvests. “Such fact is manifested by their appearance: they even bear traces of farm soil as against imported ones which are polished,” she said.
She said Vieva has “maintained the good price for local harvests because the trade association continues to honor and acknowledge its pledge to farmers under Vieva’s price guarantee.”
She also assured Vieva is committed to “help farmers increase their productivity and income and, to finally become globally competitive especially in the coming ASEAN free trade environment.”