BOC seizes 60,000 bags of suspected hoarded sugar in Bulacan

Malacañang pounced hard anew on suspected sugar hoarders as it announced the seizure of at least 60,000 bags of sugar in a series of inspections in different warehouses in Bulacan on Saturday, August 20.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) yields at least 60,000 sacks of suspected hoarded sugar in their inspection of four warehouses in Guiguinto, Bulacan on August 20, 2022. (OPS)

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said this after President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. promised to bring out more sugar stocks in the market in a determined bid to bring down sugar prices.

In a statement, Angeles said this relentless campaign of the Marcos government continued to bear positive results following the Bureau of Customs' (BOC) inspection of four more warehouses in Guiguinto, Bulacan.

"Armed with a Letter of Authority (LOA), Customs personnel used their visitorial power to inspect four warehouses in T12 Polo Land, Ilang-Ilang street in Barangay Tabang, Guiguinto, Bulacan late Saturday afternoon," she said.

According to Angeles, authorities found imported sugar from Thailand at 50 kilograms per sack. One of the four warehouses had sacks of sugar neatly stacked up to the roof.

The warehouse caretaker told Customs inspectors that the Thai sugar had just been delivered from the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) Friday evening.

Authorities also learned that the import permit used for the Thailand sugar was the allocation for Sugar Order No. 3 issued last February by the Sugar Regulatory Board.

Customs officials are now verifying the authenticity of the importation documents presented to them by the warehouse caretaker in Guiguinto, Bulacan.

The massive volume of sugar discovered by authorities in various warehouses in Luzon prompted Malacañang to conclude that the sugar shortage was artificial, brought about by the hoarding of sugar traders who wanted to rake in huge profits from the sudden spike in sugar prices.

Before the inspection in Bulacan, the Subic Port customs had also seized 140,000 bags of imported sugar from Thailand, equivalent to 7,000 metric tons. The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) suspected a "recycled permit" was used in the Subic Port.

On orders of the President, the Office of the Executive Secretary had earlier directed the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to account for the 63,000 metric tons of sugar from the 200,000 MT importation authorized under Sugar Order No. 3.

At a recent press briefing, Angeles announced that the BOC and other agencies are continuously inspecting sugar warehouses per Marcos' intensified campaign against the illegal importation of agricultural products.

In a span of two days, simultaneous operations were conducted by the BoC, the SRA and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to inspect sugar warehouses in Deparo, Caloocan City; Balut in Tondo and San Nicolas in Manila; Rosales, Pangasinan; San Fernando, Pampanga; Ibaan, Batangas, and Davao.