BOC seizes 236,571 sacks of smuggled rice in Bulacan
Citing a Bureau of Customs (BOC) report to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Malacañang on Sunday said more than 236,000 sacks of rice found in four different warehouses in Bulacan have been issued warrants of seizure and detention on suspicion that the grains were smuggled and being hoarded.
The Presidential Communications Office, in a statement, said the BOC told the Office of the President that 236,571 sacks of rice were found in the warehouses as of Sept. 29, which prompted the agency to seize the grain stocks and sue the owners for economic sabotage and agricultural product smuggling.
The BOC said it was still waiting for the comments of government prosecutors as far as the criminal charges are concerned.
The bureau also said that as of Sept. 29, it has also issued letters of authority to four other warehouses, one each in Cavite and in Las Piñas City, and the other two in Manila.
It is now awaiting the submission of necessary documents from the warehouse owners in Cavite and Las Piñas while inventory is ongoing for the warehouses in Manila.
On Friday, the BOC’s Bureau Action Team Against Smuggling filed four smuggling charges with the Department of Justice against rice smugglers in Bulacan.
Lawyer William Balayo, the acting director of BOC’s Legal Service, said over the weekend that charges of economic sabotage will be filed against three importers and against one for agricultural product smuggling under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
The charges stemmed from the inspections that customs agents conducted in Bulacan on Aug. 24.
The BOC said it was also conducting a case buildup for the filing of charges against the suspected smugglers of rice in Zamboanga City where over 42,000 sacks of smuggled rice were earlier seized. They were eventually donated to the Department of Social Welfare and Development after the importers failed to present documents to defend the legality of their importation.
In his visit to San Andres, Manila, on Sept. 26, the President said he had directed the BOC to continue to go after smugglers and hoarders behind the price manipulation schemes that are driving up the price of rice. INQ