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Smuggled rice seizures seen success at Customs

The Bureau of Customs is making inroads in the campaign against smuggling following the seizure of undocumented rice cargo in different ports in the country.

In a press statement, the Customs bureau also said the antismuggling campaign allowed the bureau to overshoot its P70-billion target collection in January by at least P200 million.

The statement quoted Customs chief Ruffy Biazon as saying charges have been filed against “high profile” smuggling syndicates and new methods to track down smugglers have been put in place.

“The best way to have a better collection is to have a no-nonsense drive to prevent smuggling activities,” the statement quoted Biazon as saying.

“Confiscating shipments and close monitoring will force syndicates to declare their shipments properly and pay the correct taxes,” the bureau chief said.

The bureau said records will show that, in one year alone, Customs officials led by Biazon were able to stop the smuggling of at least P800 million worth of agricultural products.

Under Biazon, the statement said the Customs bureau is gaining ground in the campaign against the smuggling of rice, sugar and onions.

The statement said, under Biazon, many Customs employees have been dismissed from service for graft.

Biazon, the statement said, also enforced the Interim Customs Accreditation and Registration (ICARE) program through which the import accreditation of 39 companies and cooperatives have been canceled due to their involvement in the illegal smuggling for rice.

To date, the statement said, the total number of rice importers that were removed from the list of accredited importers has risen to 170.

Records from the bureau also showed that at least P600 million worth of rice smuggled from India, Vietnam and Taiwan have been confiscated in various ports since 2012.

One of the latest seizures was made last March 6 when the Customs bureau intercepted rice smuggled from Taiwan worth P10 million in Cebu.

The Customs bureau also seized smuggled onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots and other vegetables worth almost P100 million from May 2012 until last February, the statement said. On Nov. 29, 2012, the bureau seized smuggled sugar worth at least P7 million.

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Tags: Bureau of Customs , rice , Smuggling

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