2 CDO rice traders sued by BOC for P82M glutinous rice smuggling
MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs filed on Tuesday smuggling cases against two Cagayan de Oro City-based rice traders at the Department of Justice for the alleged illegal importation of over 1.3-million kilos of glutinous rice (malagkit) worth an estimated P82.68-million.
The complaint filed by Customs commissioner John Phillip Sevilla accused Elmer Cañeta and Michael Abella – owners of the EC Peninsula Commercial and New Dawn Enterprises, respectively — of multiple counts of violating Section 3601 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) for unlawful importation; and Section 29 of Presidential Decree (PD) Number 4, as amended by PD No 1485 for failure to obtain import permits.
Both firms were not issued certificates of eligibility to import rice by the National Food Authority nor did they obtain the required import permits from the NFA for rice importations, the complaint stated.
Sevilla said the illegal rice shipments of New Dawn Enterprises and EC Peninsula Commercial arrived in November 2014 at the Port of Cagayan De Oro. In its import documents, New Dawn and EC Peninsula allegedly mis-declared the rice imports as gypsum boards, plaster board, kitchenware and tiles.
“There was clear intent to hide the rice shipments precisely because these traders know that they were importing rice without the required permits. We are working closely with the NFA to set policies and procedures that are easy and simple to understand to improve the compliance of rice traders,” said Sevilla said.
The NFA regulates rice imports through minimum access volumes to ensure viability of the local rice industry.
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