P505-M rice held as prices spike
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday said it “temporarily” padlocked several warehouses in Bulacan found storing P505 million worth of imported rice.
Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio led the inspection of the storage facilities identified as Great Harvest Rice Mill Warehouse, San Pedro Warehouse and FS Rice Mill Warehouse, all located inside the Intercity Industrial Complex in San Juan, Balagtas, Bulacan.
The warehouses were found to contain about 202,000 sacks of imported rice from Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, the BOC said.
“I have ordered the owners of these warehouses to present the necessary documents that will support its rice importation, as well as the amount of rice they have been keeping in these warehouses,” Rubio said in a statement.
The inspection was also conducted by Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) Director Verne Enciso, CIIS-Manila International Container Port agents, and Philippine Coast Guard Task Force Aduana.
Speaker Martin Romualdez, Representatives Erwin Tulfo, Wilfrido Mark Enverga and Ambrosio Cruz Jr. also joined the inspection, according to the BOC.
According to Enciso, the BOC coordinated with the Philippine National Police in Balagtas, as well as with personnel from Barangay San Juan to implement a Letter of Authority (LOA) signed by Rubio.
“Only after the LOA was acknowledged by the warehouse representatives did the team proceeded to inspect the storage, where they found hundreds of thousands of sacks of rice grain we suspect to be lacking the necessary importation documents,” he said.
“As with our protocol, the team padlocked and sealed the warehouse temporarily and proceeded with the inventory of the found goods,” Enciso added.
If found without proper importation and proof of payment documents, the corresponding seizure and forfeiture proceedings will be conducted against the subject shipments for violation of Section 1400 (misdeclaration in goods declaration) in relation to Section 1113 (property subject to seizure and forfeiture) of Republic Act No. 10863 known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.