The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has seized P6 million worth of misdeclared fresh white onions consigned to Silver Pop Dry Goods Trading at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) as a fresh wave of anti-smuggling efforts aim to prove the agency’s commitment to protect the country’s borders.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, who had spoken against attempts to besmirch the reputation of the agency and its officials, said that the operation was held last June 28.
“We are confident of the kind of work that we do, especially when it comes to stopping the smuggling of agricultural products. We take it very seriously. That is why we take an exception to allegations that the agency is doing less than a stellar performance in ending agricultural smuggling,” he said in a statement on Friday, July 1.
Customs Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Raniel Ramiro said that his office was alerted by a “derogatory information” that the shipments from the said consignee contained misdeclared and undeclared agricultural products.
“We continue to man our borders against illegal shipments of agricultural products. This is a continuous effort and we will not rest until we put an end to these attempts of running through our importation laws,” he added.
The Customs examiners and other representatives examined the shipment of three 40-foot containers that were found to contain fresh white onions despite being declared to contain steamed buns from China.
Upon learning of the presence of the smuggled agricultural products, the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) at MICP immediately asked for the issuance of Alert order/Pre-Lodgement Control Orders (PLCOs).
MICP District Collector Romeo Allan Rosales issued the PLCOs on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, and he is also expected to issue a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) against the consignee.
The filing of smuggling cases and other appropriate legal cases is expected for the violation of importation laws and regulations.
This operation came on the heels of allegations by several groups that Customs officials have become the protectors of smugglers of agricultural products.
Customs insiders condemned the report submitted to Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III that named high-ranking Customs officials as protectors of agricultural smugglers.