The Bureau of Customs (BOC) foiled the attempt to distribute smuggled onions, sugar, and cigarettes to the local markets following a series of inspections that led to the discovery of the contrabands at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said the smuggled items are worth over P104 million and arrived in the country in eight shipments— five of which came from China, two from Hong Kong, and one from India— between Dec. 29 last year and Feb. 10 this year.
“They contained misdeclared and undeclared red and white onions, sugar, and cigarettes,” said Rubio.
Agents of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service led by Intelligence Officer 3 Alvin Enciso conducted the series of inspections this month based on information they received about the arrival of smuggled items and as part of the regular anti-smuggling operations.
Enciso said the eight shipments were examined between Feb. 17 and 23, this year after the issuance of Alert Orders (AOs) based on the derogatory information they received.
BOC Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group Juvymax Uy lauded the recent spate of successful operations that had led to the seizure of millions worth of agricultural products.
“Our intel officers and agents are highly skilled and equipped at detecting the concealment methods for these smuggling activities,” said Uy as he gave credit to the CIIS-MICP for gathering the much-needed information to track down the illegal shipments.
“Our Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio has had his hands full with the transition, but that didn’t stop him from leading the agency in our fight against smuggling,” he added.
Uy said the three consignees of the shipments would be asked to present the proper permits for the importation of the goods.
Without such documents, Uy said the BOC is to conduct the corresponding seizure and forfeiture proceedings against the subject shipments for violation of Sec. 1400 (misdeclaration in goods declaration) in relation to Sec. 1113 (property subject to seizure and forfeiture) of Republic Act No. 10863 known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and Republic Act 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.
The case records will also be forwarded to the Bureau's Action Team Against Smugglers (BATAS) for the filing of appropriate charges and criminal cases against those responsible for the illegal importation of the said agricultural products.