DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Some P18 million worth of allegedly misdeclared agricultural goods from Hong Kong and China consigned to three Davao-based companies were seized here Friday, a Bureau of Customs official here said.
Martiniano Bangoy, BOC district collector, said the seized items contained in at least 23 40-footer containers were consigned to Alvee Trading, D Golden House Trading Co. and Aya Day Trading, which he identified as Davao companies.
Among the items seized were some P10.9 million worth of goods declared as yeast and shortening by D Golden House Trading which turned out to be onions, an agriculture product covered by the import ban from the Department of Agriculture.
Some P4.8 million worth of goods earlier declared by Aya Day Trading as 3,000 packages of margarine turned out to be onions; while a total of P3.2 million worth of items declared as 1,500 bags of lanolin and 3,111 bags of savory products by Alvee Trading turned out to be potatoes.
Bangoy said the Davao Port has been on alert for goods coming from Hong Kong and China, which he said were among the leading sources of smuggled agricultural goods.
“We found the items described in the entry as suspicious, so, we decided to inspect the contents of the containers,” Bangoy said as BOC inspectors opened the 40-footer containers at the Davao port Friday.
Bangoy said the bureau will file administrative and criminal charges against the erring firms.
The products were carried aboard the vessels MCC Sandiwa, MCC Davao, Mell Springword and Jan from China and MCC Sandigan from Hongkong.
“We are sending a strong message [to other importers] … that the Davao Port will not tolerate misdeclared statement and other violations of the country’s anti-smuggling laws,” Bangoy said.
He said companies found to have misdeclared their goods are automatically subjected to seizure proceedings in court, which will issue the warrant of seizure. If the parties are found liable, authorities will seize the items in favor of the government.
Bangoy said the BOC has been doing a profiling of the port of origin, and that China and Hongkong have been identified on their watchlist for smuggled agricultural goods. BOC also apprehended other consignees for the same agriculture goods from China and Hongkong in September and January last year.