Bureau of Customs agents assigned at the Manila North Harbor seized another shipment of smuggled agricultural products from China.
This time, operatives of the Manila International Container Port-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (MICP-CIIS) intercepted three 40-foot container vans of white onions worth P6 million consigned to Silverpop Dry Goods Trading.
Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero described the latest operation as a fresh wave of anti-smuggling efforts aimed to prove his agency’s commitment to protecting the country’s borders.
Guerrero had spoken against attempts to besmirch the reputation of the agency and its officials, saying the operation is proof of the hard work and sacrifice by the bureau.
“We are confident of the kind of work that we do, especially when it comes to stopping the smuggling of agricultural products. We take it very seriously. That is why we take exception to allegations that the agency is doing less than stellar performance in ending agricultural smuggling,” he stressed.
Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Raniel Ramiro said his office was alerted by a “derogatory information” that the shipments from the said consignee contain agricultural products and misdeclared and undeclared items.
“We continue to man our borders against illegal shipments of agricultural products. This is a continuous effort and we will not rest until we put an end to these attempts of running through our importation laws,” he added.
The Customs examiners and other representatives ensured the 100 percent examination of the shipment of three 40-foot containers that were found to contain fresh white onions despite being declared to contain steamed buns from China.
Upon learning of the presence of the smuggled agricultural products, the MICP-CIIS men immediately asked for the issuance of Alert and Pre-Lodgement Control Orders.
MICP District Collector Romeo Allan Rosales issued the Orders on Tuesday, and he is also expected to issue a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) against the consignee.
The filing of smuggling cases and other appropriate legal cases is expected for the violation of importation laws and regulations.
The latest operation came on the heels of allegations by several groups that Customs officials have become the protectors of smugglers of agricultural products.
Customs insiders condemned the report submitted to Senate President Vicente Sotto III that named high-ranking Customs officials as protectors of agricultural smugglers.
They lamented how others are trying to pull down the agency when it had successfully risen up from its once tarnished image under the leadership of Guerrero.