The government has warned interested importers about potential fraud in relation to the ongoing importation of 60,000 metric tons (MT) of fish.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) have issued a joint advisory about a person pretending to be a government employee offering assistance to those interested to obtain a certification to import.
“It has come to our attention that a certain Michael Lim is posing as an employee of BFAR and/or the PFDA and offering the public, particularly interested fish importers, assistance in securing accreditation from BFAR and PFDA in exchange of a consideration other than the required legal fees,” the joint advisory reads.
“Please be informed that Michael Lim is not an employee of BFAR or PFDA and is in no way connected with the said offices,” it added.
The two agencies then reminded the public that the processing of accreditation of qualified importers shall be directly transacted with the concerned BFAR and PFDA offices only.
The importation of 60,000 MT of fish is currently being done based on the guidelines of the Fisheries Administrative Order (FAO) 259, which requires importers to first obtain Certificates of Necessity to Import (CNI) from the government.
Issued in 2018, FAO 259 established the rules and regulation on the importation of frozen fish and aquatic products for wet markets during closed and off-fishing seasons or during the occurrence of calamities.
Just this week, PFDA and BFAR already formally opened the application to obtain CNI, adding that the pre-qualification registration is only until September 20, 2021.