smuggling in the Philippines

Customs seizes P171 million in agri products, including onions, smuggled from China

Rappler.com
Customs seizes P171 million in agri products, including onions, smuggled from China
Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz says the P171 million in smuggled agricultural products were consigned to Taculog J International Consumer Goods Trading

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized over the past few weeks P171 million worth of smuggled agricultural products from China that were all consigned to a company supposedly based in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. 

Twenty containers consigned to Taculog J International Consumer Goods Trading allegedly had P171,350,000 worth of smuggled agricultural products, including fresh red and white onions, from China. 

Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz said they had been monitoring the activities of Taculog J International Consumer Goods Trading after they got information about the smuggled goods. 

“We are not only practicing our mandate to investigate, examine, and seize such contrabands. This is for the good of the country and our people. We have been suffering from the high cost of onions in the markets, so we are especially on the lookout for these kinds of operations because it hurts not only the economy, but it directly impacts our farmers, the people, and the agricultural sector itself,” he said.

The containers arrived at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) from November 12 to December 3 this year, and the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) at the MICP examined them from December 6 to 22, 2022.  

The Bureau of Customs said all shipments were initially declared to have mantou or steamed buns, while others were declared to have frozen food products, such as frozen prawn balls, frozen lobster and crabstick, as well as udon noodles and fresh carrots. 

CIIS Director Jeoffrey Tacio said they received derogatory information about the shipments and issued the necessary Alert Orders (AOs) by December 6. 

The containers that arrived on November 12 and examined between December 14 to 21 were found to contain frozen squid flower and fresh white onions worth around P38 million. 

Shipments that arrived on November 18 and checked between December 6 to 20 were found to contain fresh red and white onions valued at around P79 million. 

Another batch that arrived on November 20 and examined from December 19 to 21 had undeclared fresh red and white onions worth around P35 million. 

The goods that arrived on November 25 and checked on Thursday, December 22, had undeclared frozen boneless buffalo meat valued at P14.7 million. The consignee only declared that the shipments had frozen lobster, frozen prawn balls, and frozen crab sticks. 

A container declared to have udon noodles that arrived on December 3 and examined on December 22 had undeclared fresh carrots worth around P4.5 million. 

The Bureau of Customs said Warrants of Seizure and Detention (WSDs) were ordered against Taculog J International Consumer Goods Trading, and that charges would be filed against the firm for violation of Section 1400 (misdeclaration in goods declaration), and Section 117 (regulated importation and exportation) in relation to Section 1113 (property subject to seizure and forfeiture) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The agency also recommended the suspension of the accreditation of the importer and other persons involved.

Ruiz said other government agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, helped in the operation. 

Customs Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy said the agency is intensifying its campaign against agricultural smuggling in line with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s call to better protect the country’s long coastline. 

44 containers seized in Port of Subic

Meantime, the Bureau of Customs-Port of Subic (BOC-POS) seized 44 containers of misdeclared agricultural products, also from China, on December 5, 9 and 10. 

Twenty-four containers consigned to Asterzenmed Inc. and 20 containers consigned to Victory JM Enterprise OPC were issued Alert Orders and Pre-lodgment Orders. 

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An examination of 5 containers of STC Frozen Shabu-Shabu Balls consigned to Asterzenmed Inc. yielded frozen items like shabu-shabu balls, whole mackerel, boneless buffalo meat, and boneless beef. 

Four containers declared to have bread (pastries) consigned to Victory JM had mostly fresh red onions, some steamed buns and soft French bread collectively valued at P81.7 million. 

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Thirty-five other containers have yet to be examined by the BOC-POS.  – Rappler.com

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