Biazon vows to go after rice smugglers
MANILA, Philippines—“We will get you.”
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon on Thursday issued this warning against smugglers of rice and other agricultural products after the Bureau of Customs filed criminal charges with the Department of Justice against four trading companies accused of being behind the illegal importation of nearly P11 million worth of rice from Burma (Myanmar) and Hong Kong.
This brought to a total of 148 the number of smuggling cases filed by the BOC during the past three years.
In a statement, Biazon asked all importers of agricultural products to “desist from smuggling and for them to pay the right duties for their importations as sooner or later, we will confront you in the court of law.”
“We will never compromise the interest of our local farmers and for that we will not allow the illegal importation of rice, among other agricultural products,” he said.
The erring companies were identified as Ocean Park Enterprises, Vintage Eagle Marketing, Mindanao Portal Enterprises and Zone Zodiac Commercial.
The owners and brokers of the firms were charged with violation of the Tariffs and Customs Code.
According to Biazon, Ocean Park’s shipment of 10 containers of rice, estimated to be worth more than P6 million, was part of 1,169 containers of smuggled Burma rice that were seized early this year in the Port of Cebu.—Jerry E. Esplanada