CEBU CITY, Philippines – At least P83 million worth of smuggled rice from China were seized by the Bureau of Customs at the Port of Cebu on Monday, December 11.
The rice shipment on board 71 container vans was misdeclared as tiles.
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, who led the opening of the containers at the Cebu port, said the discovery of the smuggled rice only confirmed reports that the Bureau of Customs in Manila received.
“We came here with an alert order and we have the shipment verified. It turned out that the information relayed to us is positive,” Lapeña said in a press conference.
The 71 container vans arrived in Cebu from China in 4 shipments - November 27, 29, and 30 and December 3. The consignees were identified as Seven Myth Marketing based in Ermita, Manila and Rainbow Horizons Enterprise based in Binondo, Manila.
The shipment was declared as ceramic tiles but further examination showed that the vans contained mostly rice. As of Monday, 14 of the 18 container vans that were opened contained rice. The 4 others had tiles in them, said Lapeña.
“An alert order is something that should not be feared as long as our businessmen and importers are doing legitimate business. But if they are doing something wrong, they will have a problem with us,” the Customs chief said in a mix of Filipino and English.
In his visit to Cebu last November 26, Lapeña led the opening of some of the 160 container vans that contained goods that were misdeclared and undervalued, including tiles; apples, carrots, and potatoes; 20 brand new SUVs; and miscellaneous products and items.
He said a syndicate is involved in the smuggling activities in the various ports in the country and even hinted that some Bureau of Customs personnel are involved in the said illegal activities. – Rappler.com