P253-M smuggled farm goods seized in 42 days | Inquirer News

P253-M smuggled farm goods seized in 42 days

Customs authorities inspect smuggled onionsfrom China that were declared as ceramics in this file photo

MISDECLARED Customs authorities inspect smuggled onions from China that were declared as ceramics in this file photo. —INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

In the 42 days since Nov. 12, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has intercepted 60 shipping containers loaded with undeclared or misdeclared agricultural produce worth more than P253 million, the agency said on Friday.

At least 25 of these containers were loaded with fresh onions that have become scarce because of a number of reasons, including the earlier government policy of importing agricultural produce to the detriment of local farmers.


“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 it directly impacts our farmers, the people, and the agricultural sector itself,” Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz said on Friday.


The BOC said in a statement that the 60 containers began arriving in November at Manila International Container Port (MICP) and Port of Subic and excludes the two containers that were seized in Cagayan de Oro port on Dec. 6.

Twenty of the 60 containers arrived from China at MICP from Nov. 12 to Dec. 3 and were consigned to Taculog J International Consumer Goods Trading, based in Muntinlupa City.

Mostly onions

The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) found P171,350,000 worth of contraband, including fresh red and white onions, upon inspection from Dec. 6 to Dec. 22.

Initially, almost all the containers were declared to contain mantou, or steamed buns, while some were declared as frozen food products, like prawn balls, crabsticks, frozen lobsters, as well as fresh carrots.

But the CIIS found other agricultural products that were undeclared, mostly onions.

White onions and frozen squid, worth P38 million, were found in the containers that arrived on Nov. 12. Fresh red and white onions, amounting to about P79 million, were found in all of the shipments that arrived on Nov. 18.


P35 million worth of undeclared fresh red and white onions were found in containers that arrived on Nov. 20. Containers from Nov. 25 were found to have undeclared frozen boneless buffalo meat with an estimated value of P14 million.

While another container, which arrived on Dec. 3 was found to have undeclared fresh carrots with an estimated value of P4.5 million despite declaring only udon noodles.

Subic shipments intercepted

The agency said that it was also able to intercept sizable shipments at Port of Subic.

At least P81 million worth of agricultural products, including red onions, were found in 44 containers that arrived at Port of Subic separately from China on Dec. 5, 9 and 10.

The bureau said that “of the 44 containers, 24 were consigned to Asterzenmed while 20 were consigned to Victory JM Enterprise OPC.”

Asterzenmed was also the consignee of two containers that were found to contain five tons of fresh onions at Mindanao Container Port in Cagayan de Oro on Dec. 6.

The BOC said five containers that arrived at Subic also contained undeclared items, such as whole mackerel, boneless buffalo meat and boneless beef.Further, four containers were declared to contain bread or pastries, but most had fresh red onions.

The contents of the four containers alone were valued at a total of P81.71 million and the CIIS has yet to complete the examination of the 35 others.

and Jacob Lazaro

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