Officials of the Bureau of Customs, led by deputy commissioner for intelligence Danilo Lim, on Tuesday inspected 94,000 bags of smuggled rice worth at least P135 million at the port of Legazpi and started preparing criminal charges against their consignees.
Lim, in a report from his office, said the consignees of the smuggled rice from Vietnam have been identified as Samahan ng Magsasakang Kapampangan at Katagalugan (SMKK), Malipampang Concerned Citizens Inc. (MCCI), Ugnayang Magbubukid ng San Isidro Inc. (Umsi) and Kapatirang Takusa (KT).
These groups, said Lim, violated the Tariffs and Customs Code and the Department of Agriculture rules on rice importation as they failed to show proof of payment of duties for the seized rice cargo.
“Most, if not all, of the consignees are either ‘for hire’ cooperatives or nonexistent,” said Lim. “Yet, they were given rice importation allocation quota by the National Food Authority,” he said.
A check by the Customs bureau, said Lim, revealed that SMKK exceeded its quota by 4,000 bags. MCCI’s excess is more than 12,000 bags. Umsi’s is more than 15,000 bags while KT’s is 2,000 bags.
The bureau, said Lim, is enforcing an order by Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon.