BOC busts P18M 'smuggled' onions in Cagayan de Oro

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized an estimated P18 million worth of allegedly smuggled red and white onions at the Port of Cagayan de Oro (CDO), it reported on Thursday, July 28.

(Photo courtesy of Bureau of Customs)

The shipments that arrived at the CDO port were consigned to a certain Primex Export and Import Producer.

Upon examination by Customs officials, tue shipments were found to contain red and white onions instead of soft tortilla wrap which was what the consignee declared in its Inward Foreign Manifest.

Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz, whose top priority programs include curbing smuggling, said the swift implementation of the operation stopped the entry of the smuggled agricultural goods into the country.

“We have a legacy to continue here, one that was started by the previous administration. We know that we have been a target of agricultural smuggling for years, and I personally believe it is high-time we put more resources into these efforts,” he said.

“We have a good foundation in the bureau because for the past six years, there was a strong leadership at the helm, who pushed for the necessary changes that transformed our processes and made us more efficient in our jobs,” Ruiz added.

CIIS Director Jeoffrey Tacio said that their Field Station at CDO received “derogatory information” through a Field Information Report (FIRE) from the Intelligence Division about the shipment of possible misdeclared agricultural products.

“In such instances, the standing order is for us to act immediately by filing the necessary documents and receiving the go-signal. It is imperative that we act swiftly on smuggling cases to prevent these incidents from repeatedly happening in our own ports,” he said.

Upon receiving the derogatory information, the field station chief at the CDO port requested for the issuance of a Pre-Lodgement Control Order (PLCO) against the shipments from the office of CDO District Collector Elvira Cruz.

A Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) was recommended against the shipment, while Primex Export and Import Producer will face legal charges in relation to possible violation of Section 1400 (misdeclaration of goods) and Section 117 (regulated importation) of Republic Act 10863, or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).