Sinister attempt to withdraw ‘smuggled’ sugar bared

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An unidentified group made a sinister attempt last Tuesday to withdraw some P110 million worth of sugar allegedly smuggled from Thailand and confiscated by customs authorities in 2010, a group representing the sugar industry disclosed on Friday.

The Sugar Master Plan Foundation (SMPF) said unidentified persons representing a “vested interest group” presented dubious court documents to customs officers to claim 55,000 bags of sugar valued at P2,000 per bag from a customs warehouse in Bulacan where the stocks of sugar are stored pending litigation “apparently with the intention to sell it to the market.”

“Fortunately, our customs officers were very alert and immediately called for backup,” and the group had to leave, SMPF executive director Felixberto T. Monasterio said in a phone interview.

No leads yet

Monasterio said he had no idea who was behind the attempt to withdraw the “smuggled” sugar. Asked if a politician could be behind it, he said: “That’s what we’re afraid of. That’s why we are now going to media.”

According to Monasterio, the Bureau of Customs already ruled last Oct. 8 that the sugar shipment was “clearly” illegal, but his group was now pressing the BOC and the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to declare finally that the sugar was smuggled.

“This is so the sugar can finally be disposed of by the SRA,” he told the Inquirer.

In a statement, Monasterio raised concerns that the release of the sugar stocks to the local market would depress prices to the detriment of farmers, considering that sugar remained a “sensitive commodity.”

“Any slump in price affects farmers, as the industry gives jobs to 60,000 farmers planting sugarcane on 420,000 hectares. The industry contributes P70 billion to the country’s gross domestic product and P2 billion in value-added tax,” he said.

In 2010, the National Food Authority was allowed by the national government to import 150,000 metric tons of sugar in the first half to beef up local supply.

But in the middle of the importation process, customs officials seized a shipment of 54,907 bags of sugar from Thailand that went beyond the volume allowed the NFA. The importer was Unitrade International.

After a long legal squabble, the BOC’s Law Office declared the shipment illegal on Oct. 8, Monasterio said.

Rightful claimant

“However, another company, Yida Trading, filed last Oct. 25 a motion for reconsideration with BOC after its Oct. 8 decision, saying it is the rightful claimant of the sugar. It claims as evidence the receipt issued to it by Unitrade upon purchase of the goods,” he said.

Monasterio said he did not believe Yida Trading was the same group that attempted to get the stocks from the Bulacan warehouse on Tuesday.

“It’s good that Customs people in Bulacan are on their toes. It is to their credit that the sugar has not been pulled out by people who want to make a shortcut and make money at the expense of our sugar industry,” he said.

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  • CheapJ

    The best thing to do is for Biazon to instruct the warehouse personnel in Bulacan not to release the goods. Unless Biazon succumbs to the pressures from whoever is behind the smuggling.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/MJFXCRSCXRWPLL42QQKSINC3AQ Mamerto

      Is this the son who is UN-like the father, where excellent performance are concerned..?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GG4T5UNZ3P7SCHSRNJ7PF5JZMM Jimmy

    Mahigit ng DALAWANG TAON ay hindi pa natatapos ang kaso ng asukal na yan..!!!!  Eh baka MAASIM na yan…! Bakit hindi ibenta sa murang halaga sa mga mahihirap para kahit papaano eh mapakinabangan..!!!!!  Biazon should dispose them ASAP…!!!!!

  • ddano

    Why did the Bulacan Custom officials let the people who tried to claim the sugar to leave, they should have collared them and brought to their office and investigated. Now these custom officials are “going to the media”, for what? For pogi points or to published their incompetence?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/MJFXCRSCXRWPLL42QQKSINC3AQ Mamerto

      Are these the same custom officials that allowed the “questionable sweeteners” of
      Coca-Cola that were released in-spite of complaints raised by representatives of the sugar industry…?

  • Your_King

    Will Aquino ever directly address the fact that smuggling in the Philippines has been its worst during his Administration? Or will he continue to ignore it like all the many other issues and expect someone else to fix the problem. Maybe someone should remind him that he was elected President in 2012 and that his shift goes until 2016.

    • EOJ

       Not true. More smuggled goods are apprehended under PNoy.

      It was so quiet during 9 years of arroyo. The operation of smugglers were smooth and easy.

      • Your_King

        True. Smuggling in the Philippines has been its highest during the Aquino Admin. Don’t try to be slick with words and trick people with yellow journalism.

    • Rolly257

      There was not a single case of smuggling during Gloria’s time. Gloria and her cohorts made illegals to be legal. So you are right, because smuggling means importing of prohibited goods for the purpose evading taxes.

      Please note that the importation of the subject sugar was finalized during the first half of 2010.

      • Your_King

        Just like Aquino, you ignore the real issues of today like the fact that smuggling is the worst that its ever been during his term. Instead of doing something about it you and Aquino settle for pointlessly blaming fpgma for everything.

  • Rolly257

    Parang kulang ang balita. Sana bukas, may balita kung sino ang sangkot dito.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MJFXCRSCXRWPLL42QQKSINC3AQ Mamerto

    It’s quite clear, at the onset of the story/article, that something was VERY fishy…, with the story itself, and the incident as it happened.
    No names were named.; unidentified persons representing a “vested interest group”  in this report is saying a lot, WITHOUT saying anything…; P2,000 per 50kl/bag is even higher than what was traded by bona-fide planters at the time; and…, YES…., why were these suspicious persons NOT DETAINED..
    The Government seems to be doing a lot of things EXCEPT protect the Planters; Consumers; Investors; the General Public; etc etc.
    Like in this case of Sugar Smuggling…, in the Aman Scam… where it was allowed to operate for so long;
    In the Insurance and many non-life insurance plans like education, memorial plans etc. where the Officers of those Insurance companies are scott free with nary an investigation and explanation where the money went. And what is the purpose and duties of the Insurance Commissioner and other Gov’t watchdogs?.
    In the unexplained fuel-oil price changes…, to the detriment of the general public…, etc etc. Up to now, no explanation had been made to clarify/explain how & why the prices of gasoline, diesel, LPG, and the rest are the way they are…., one of the highest in the region and in the world…?

    Edit
    Reply

  • joboni96

    ‘confiscated by customs authorities in 2010′

    bulok na yan

    sana’y nabenta na at
    ginamit sa panghuli pa ng mga ibang smuggler

  • Mari Geslani Lolarga

    kung ‘alert’ yung mga customs officers, bakit hindi nila hinuli itong mga “unidentified persons” samantalang puede naman nilang gawin? Mga duwag din pala.

  • http://www.facebook.com/metz.ceprian Buknoy Bisaya

    then, file additional charges against this people..falsification of public document..ek ek ek…

    are they just going to allow them to leave after their attempt? they should have held them up in their office for security verifications

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