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Bureau of Customs seizes food, clothes

/ 05:36 AM March 16, 2012
Rufino Biazon

Customs chief Rufino Biazon

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday ordered the seizure at the Port of Manila of 10 container vans containing P23.1-million worth of agricultural products, hardware and used clothing that were allegedly misdeclared by their consignees.

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said eight of the 40-foot container vans had come from Pakistan, Hong Kong and China and were consigned to EJ Alejandro Import and Export, a trading company based in Navotas City and owned by Emilio J. Alejandro.

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Preserved food

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Upon examination by customs agents, six of the vans were found to contain carrots, potatoes, fish and chicken legs that had been declared as preserved foods, a classification applicable only to nonagricultural products. Two other vans held used clothing that had been declared as kitchen ware.

The shipment, which arrived in December 2011, was valued at P22 million with a dutiable amount of P7 million.

Two other vans, consigned to Merchandise Consumer Resources Unlimited Inc. (MCRUI) and which arrived from Malaysia in January 2012, were declared as containing poultry-keeping materials but were found to hold hardware materials such as manholes, turnbuckles, bending tools and door sets.

The seized goods were estimated to be worth P1.1 million with corresponding duties of P310,000.

Legal problem

The licensed broker for MCRUI and EJ Alejandro was Gonzalo Planas, according to Port of Manila district collector Rogel Gatchalian.

Gatchalian said the importers should have just paid their duties so their goods would not have been seized.

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“Contrary to what others might think that smuggling is a lucrative business, once you’re caught you will not only be losing the business but, most importantly, you will be in a big legal problem,” he said.

Biazon said the BOC was preparing to file in the Department of Justice the appropriate charges against the importers and the broker for violation of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines and of orders of the Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Plant Industry.

“The bureau will never allow importers to defraud the government by not paying the right duties and taxes for their shipments. Moreover, we will never allow illegally imported food products, not certified safe for human consumption by the appropriate agencies, to enter the country,” he said. Jerome Aning

Originally posted at 07:37 pm | Thursday, March 15, 2012

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TAGS: Bureau of Customs, Crime, Customs, DoJ, Food, garment, Government, hardware, Smuggling
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