The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has seized 26 containers of glutinous rice (a variety known locally as “malagkit”) which were allegedly smuggled into the country. BOC commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, who led the inspection of the containers at Manila International Container Port on Friday, said charges of misdeclaration, misclassification or undervaluation of the goods would be filed against the concerned brokers, whose identities were still being verified at press time. The cargo was declared as “glutinous supplies” but turned out to be a shipment of rice worth an estimated P40 million. Deputy commissioner Ted Raval said the shipment reportedly arrived from Hong Kong in November and was meant for a certain “ship,” supposedly as provisions for its crew. But the accompanying documents did not pinpoint the ship’s location and just indicated “any port in the Philippines.” “That’s a red flag for us since a ship’s route is predetermined,” Raval explained. The registered origin of the cargo was Hong Kong, but Raval said it was more likely to be Vietnam or Thailand since Hong Kong is not a rice producer. “The broker wanted to hide it by passing it off as supplies for ships,” Faeldon said. “He tried to fool us but the scheme was very glaring… Who would cook glutinous rice on ships?” —Julie M. Aurelio
MMDA makes bus lanes adjustable on Edsa-QC
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has removed steel fences and concrete barriers along a portion of the southbound lane of Edsa in Quezon City and replaced them with plastic barriers. This would allow MMDA traffic constables to modify the width of the designated lanes for buses and private cars as the need arises, according to MMDA officer in charge and general manager Tim Orbos. The adjustment was made following an assessment of the traffic situation on Edsa from Timog Avenue to P. Tuazon Boulevard, Orbos said. It supplmented MMDA’s implementation of the “nose in, nose out” policy for bus terminals located along Edsa. —Jovic Yee
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