Customs seizes P400-M smuggled rice from 3 Tondo warehouses
imported illegally

Customs seizes P400-M smuggled rice from 3 Tondo warehouses

Customs seizes P400-M smuggled rice from 3 Tondo warehouses

Customs Commissioner Bien Rubio | PHOTO: Official website of Bureau of Customs

An inspection conducted by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in three warehouses in Tondo, Manila, led to the discovery of P400 million worth of suspected smuggled rice and other imported products.

Customs Commissioner Bien Rubio said that of the total amount of the goods found in the warehouses, P90.2 million were from some 36,086 sacks of imported rice from Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.


“While our government and kababayans scramble to make rice cheaper and more accessible, these businesses are possibly smuggling and hoarding them, which further adversely impacts our efforts to bring the prices down,” Rubio said in a statement.


The other imported miscellaneous goods found include children’s toys, cosmetics, kitchenware, household wares, videoke machines, fabrics, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, shoes and apparel. Agents of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS)-Manila International Container Port and the Philippine Coast Guard implemented the letters of authority signed by Rubio against three warehouses located on Antonio Rivera and Dagupan streets in Tondo on Sept. 16.

According to CIIS Director Verne Enciso, they received derogatory information about the facilities prior to the operation.

Sen. Francis Escudero earlier said authorities should not stop at seizing rice found to be imported and sold illegally.

He said the Customs must file appropriate cases against individuals allegedly facilitating the unlawful entry of rice and those hoarding the food staple.

Import tariff cuts

Meanwhile, discussions “at the highest level” in Malacañang are ongoing in relation to the proposed temporary reduction of import tariffs on milled rice even as farmers’ and agri-business groups are calling for the removal of key economic managers from the Cabinet.

As soon as price caps on milled rice were announced through Executive Order No. 39, which was signed on Aug. 31, the Foundation for Economic Freedom called for a temporary lifting—to zero percent—or reduction to 10 percent from 35 percent of levies on imported rice.


The think tank made this a formal petition on Sept. 6 and is now pending at the Tariff Commission.

On Sept. 8, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Benjamin Diokno told journalists that the DOF was also proposing a temporary tariff cut—to zero or a maximum of 10 percent—while reiterating support for EO 39.

On Monday, Sept. 18, Diokno said in a statement that this proposal was part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce prices for consumers and mitigate a potential shortage of the staple due to the impact of the ongoing El Niño climate phenomenon, which threatens agricultural output.

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“Rest assured that the DOF, in coordination with other relevant government agencies and stakeholders, shall pursue programs and support measures to balance the interests of domestic rice farmers,” Diokno said. INQ

TAGS: Bureau of Customs, rice prices, rice smuggling

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