Heads may roll at BOC, says Palace amid suspected recycling of sugar import permits
MANILA, Philippines — Heads may roll at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) once proven that any of the agency’s personnel were in connivance with smugglers using recycled sugar import permits, the Palace said Friday.
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles made the remark after authorities averted the possible smuggling of 7,021 metric tons of sugar from Thailand at the Subic Port in Zambales, according to a press release from the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS).
The OPS said officials from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) learned that the import permit used for the cargo was “recycled,” which means it was already used for an earlier sugar shipment.
“Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles says that heads may roll at the BoC if evidence shows that any of the bureau’s port personnel are in connivance with smugglers using recycled sugar import permits,” the OPS press release reads.
Acting Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz, in his report to Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez, said that the 7,021 metric tons of Thai white sugar loaded in the cargo vessel MV Bangpakaew was equivalent to 140,000 bags, with total tax payment valued at more than P45.6 million.
Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) officer-in-charge Joeffrey Tacio reported that the cargo is covered by a “Special Permit to Discharge (SPD) and Verified Single Administrative Document (SAD)” from the BOC and with a verified clearance from the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).
“Initially, the cargo vessel was allowed to discharge its load at 11 a.m. today (Thursday), cleared by SRA and BOC because it was not covered by the failed attempt to import 300,000 MT of sugar,” Tacio was quoted as saying in the OPS press release.
“This means that the recycled permit was from an old allocation,” he added.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. earlier rejected Sugar Order No. 4, which would have authorized the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar in the country.
The OPS said reports have reached the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) that indicated a similar modus involving “recycled import permits” which supposedly resulted in the smuggling of “shipload of imported sugar” last week.
The report from the OES identified several persons who allegedly control Subic Port, according to the OPS.
“This is clearly economic sabotage and this crime is non-bailable,” the report from OES said.
The OPS earlier reported that Marcos had ordered the BOC to use its visitorial power to inspect warehouses where stocks of sugar were believed to be being hoarded for profit.
So far, a warehouse in Pampanga and two more warehouses in Bulacan have been inspected and sacks of sugar believed to be hoarded have been seized by authorities.
Palace warns sugar hoarders after raid on Pampanga warehouse
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