CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY —- A total of P66 million worth of smuggled agricultural products have been seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Northern Mindanao (Region 10) for the month of July at Mindanao Container Terminal Port, PHIVIDEC Compound, Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
This is part of the intensive anti-smuggling operation of the BOC-10.
The first seizure took place on July 7 where the shipments of what was declared as ‘Autolysed Yeast in Powder Form’ arrived from China on July 2 and consigned to Primex Export and Import Producer.
After the conduct of physical examination, the BOC-10 found the said shipments to contain red onions, white onions, and carrots which is contrary to the declaration. The smuggled agricultural products have an estimated value of P15 million.
On July 19, four containers of smuggled red onions and white onions worth P12 million which were declared ‘Spring Roll Patti’ in its Inward Foreign Manifest had been seized by the agency.
The third seizure happened on July 22 where the BOC-10 seized a total of seven containers of smuggled red and white onions with an estimated worth of P21 million.
Three of the seven containers were consigned to Frankie Trading Enterprises and declared as “Yung Butter/Dairy Spreads”. Meanwhile, the four remaining containers consigned to Primex Export and Import Producer were declared as “Spring Roll Patti”.
The recent seizure took place on Thursday, July 28, where another smuggled red and white onions were seized with an estimated worth of P18 million.
The said shipments which arrived on July 23 from China and consigned to Primex Export and Import Producer were declared as “Soft Tortilla Wrap.”
The false declaration of goods was a clear violation of Section 1400 of Republic Act No. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
After the seizure of millions of agricultural products, there were clamors about donating the goods.
However, BOC-10 information officer Cris Angelo Andrade said on Saturday, July 30, that all of the seized smuggled agricultural products might be hazardous for the public to consume, as per the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) of the Department of Agriculture region 10.
Manuel Barradas, the BPI supervising agriculturist, clarified in a statement that their only option is to destroy the products or return it to its origin, which is very costly.
“We don’t know what pest and disease these might bring that would infect our other crops here in Mindanao. This would also pose human risk because we don’t know what preservatives or chemicals they used, this is a hazard to our consumers,” Barradas explained.
The seized goods were currently in the custody of the authorities and the BOC-10 will start the destruction after the issuance of the condemnation order.
“Naay (There is a) condemnation committee sa (in the) BOC. Pero wala pako kabalo sa when ang (However, I still do not know when is the) condemnation date,” Andrade told Manila Bulletin via text message.