Customs seizes rice, cars worth P12M at Davao port

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The Bureau of Customs on Thursday seized P12 million worth of allegedly smuggled rice and cars of still undetermined value at the Port of Davao.

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon inspected the 22 container vans of rice and one 40-foot container van carrying one used Daewoo Rezzo, one Kia Carens and one Hyundai Sonata.

According to Biazon, the rice shipment from Singapore and Vietnam that was stuffed in 20-foot container vans were consigned to three different Davao traders—Mactech Industrial Machines & Supply’s, Berthand Enterprises and All Systems Logistics.

The rice shipment was allegedly misdeclared as stone slabs and cellulose fiber.

“The consignees of the illegally imported rice deliberately misdeclared their shipment to avoid the required rice import permit from the National Food Authority,” Biazon said.

The vehicles, which came from Korea, were consigned to a forwarding company named Philippine Genesis Freight Unlimited Inc.

Also on Thursday, the customs bureau brought charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against five officers of a trading company for allegedly smuggling into the country P25-million worth of fake medicines.

Biazon said the respondents, all executives of the Manila-based Mountain Glory Agri Sales Corp., were liable for violating the Intellectual Property Rights Law and the Food and Drugs Administration Law.

Named respondents were company president Manuel M. Navarro; Loreto A. Concepcion, corporate secretary and a member of the board of directors; and directors Marlowe C. Cariño, John Michael R. Gersalia and Ernesto V. Empenio.

The complaint was based on the customs bureau’s seizure at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) last March of one 40-foot van containing 20 pallets of various medicines from South Korea without the required permits from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

According to the BOC, the shipment was held based on an alert order it had issued and upon verifying that Mountain Glori Agri Sales was not accredited by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and was not authorized to import medicines.

“This is a big haul for the Bureau of Customs not only in terms of otherwise foregone revenues, but more importantly, because of the countless Filipino lives that could have been saved by this seizure,” Biazon said when he presented the shipment to media on Wednesday.

The imported fake medicines included those that were branded as Simvastatin, Centrum Multivitamins, Perigo (Ibuprofen) and Amoxycillin, he added.

The customs bureau seized all the suspect shipments for violations of the Tariffs and Customs Code.

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