BOC: Arrest of large-scale smuggler shows gov’t’s commitment vs illegal goods
MANILA, Philippines — The recent arrest of an alleged large-scale smuggler is proof of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration’s commitment to curb such illegal acts, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said on Friday.
In a statement, Customs Commissioner Bien Rubio said that the success of the operation against a certain Jayson de Roxas Taculog — which was mentioned by Senator Cynthia Villar — should be a strong deterrent against smuggling.
“This shows the commitment of the Marcos administration to go after these big-time agricultural smugglers. Bringing in these goods to the country illegally is a significant threat to our economy, to the livelihoods of small farmers, and to the competitiveness of legitimate businesses,” Rubio said.
“I hope that this latest operation will serve as a strong deterrent for other smugglers not to even attempt circumventing our laws and making a mockery of them,” he added.
It was Villar who said last Wednesday that Taculog was arrested after being caught smuggling 30 containers of onions. She added that 15 cases were filed against him, but most were dismissed by the court.
BOC Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy said that the coordination among the government agencies, BOC included, led to Taculog’s arrest.
“This showcased our team’s unwavering commitment to bringing these perpetrators to justice and upholding the integrity of legitimate trade and importation. In many cases, smuggling agricultural, poultry, and food products poses a threat to the health and safety of consumers,” Uy explained.
“For that alone, we want to make sure here in the BOC that we cover all bases and we see the finality of these cases,” he added.
The administration has been encountering problems regarding smuggling; early in 2023, key House lawmakers pointed to agricultural smuggling as the reason why onion prices skyrocketed in 2022.
According to Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo, hearings done by the House committee on agriculture and food showed that onion cartels can manipulate prices by creating a fake shortage of cold storage facilities needed to keep onions fresh.
Quimbo explained that cartels connive with cold storage facilities to falsely claim that slots are already filled up.
Traders would then urge farmers to sell their produce at lower farm gate prices, as it would be better to earn from the onions than to leave them spoiled due to the lack of cold storage rooms — eventually keeping the produce at storage facilities to create an artificial onion shortage.