Malacañang bared that a warehouse in San Fernando, Pampanga suspected of hoarding thousands of sugar was uncovered by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday, Aug. 18.
Sacks of imported sugar from Thailand “neatly stockpiled” were found in the warehouse located at the Lison Building in Barangay Del Pilar, according to the BOC.
The Palace said the raid was made on orders from Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez, acting on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s order for the BOC to check on the inventory of imported agricultural products in all customs bonded warehouses with the aim of finding out if there is hoarding of sugar.
Rodriguez said the raid should serve as a warning to erring traders who are hoarding their stocks of sugar amid the shortage and rising prices of the commodity.
“The BOC’s Pampanga sugar warehouse raid may very well serve as a warning to unscrupulous traders who are currently hoarding their stocks of sugar in order to profit from the current artificial sugar shortage situation,” Rodriguez said.
The Executive Secretary said his office is investigating reports that the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar was being pushed aggressively by certain traders who intend to use it as a “cover” for them to release the sugar they had hoarded but couldn’t release as this would depress prices.
It was disclosed that a Chinese-Filipinos warehouse keeper identified as Jimmy Ng was present during the raid.
The volume and value of the discovered sugar are still being determined by the Customs, the Palace said.
The warehouse owners, on the other hand, are given 15 days to prove that the items were legally imported into the country.
If proven that the Thailand sugar was smuggled, the warehouse owners may face charges of smuggling in relation to the provisions of The Customs Modernization Act (CMTA).
Aside from sugar, sacks of cornstarch from China, sacks of imported flour, plastic products, oil in plastic barrels, motorcycle parts and wheels of different brands, helmets, LED Televisions sets and paints were also found in the warehouse.