BOC: Smuggled onions, other agri goods worth P171.3M seized from one consignee
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized P171 million worth of smuggled agricultural products, including fresh red and white onions, at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) this month.
The BOC said Friday that its Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service had intercepted some 20 containers consigned to one company from December 6-22, which contained smuggled products from China.
The bureau said the containers arriving at MICP from November 12 to December 3 were all consigned to Taculog J International Consumer Goods Trading in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
Almost all containers were initially declared to contain mantou (steamed buns), while some were also declared to have frozen food products such as prawn balls, lobster, crab stick, and udon noodles, and fresh carrots.
The confiscation of smuggled agricultural products was made in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture.
The BOC said in a statement that the containers carried the following items:
- Containers that arrived on November 12 and were examined between December 14 and 21 contained frozen squid flowers and fresh white onions worth P38,031,000.
- Containers that arrived on November 18 and were examined between December 6 and 20 contained fresh red and white onions worth P79,020,000.
- Containers that arrived on November 20 and were examined between December 19-21 contained undeclared fresh red and white onions worth P35,079,000.
- Containers that arrived on November 25 and were examined on December 22 contained undeclared frozen boneless buffalo meat worth P14,720,000.
- A container that arrived on December 3 and examined on December 22 contained undeclared fresh carrots worth P4,500,000.
Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz said the bureau had been monitoring the activities of Taculog J International Consumer Goods Trading after receiving information on the actual contents of the containers from China.
“We are not only practicing our mandate to investigate, examine, and seize such contrabands. This is for the good of the country and our people. We have been suffering from the high cost of onions in the markets, so we are especially on the lookout for these kinds of operations because it hurts not only the economy but directly impacts our farmers, the people, and the agricultural sector itself,” he said in the same statement.
For his part, CIIS Director Jeoffrey Tacio said that upon receiving information about the shipments, the BOC immediately issued the necessary alert orders so examination could ensue.
Warrants of seizure and detention (WSDs) were ordered against the entire shipment after the consignee was found to have misdeclared and smuggled goods.
Under Section 117 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff, goods subject to regulation shall be imported or exported only after securing the necessary goods declaration or export declaration, clearances, licenses, and any other requirements before importation or exportation.
The warrants recommended the filing of appropriate charges and the suspension of the accreditation of the importer, as well as other person or persons who willfully participated in the fraudulent act.