A series of inspection of 24 warehouses in Metro Manila on Friday resulted in the seizure of P150 million worth of smuggled agricultural products following the intensified campaign of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to curb agricultural smuggling.
Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said agents of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-Manila International Container Port (CIIS-MICP), the Philippine National Police-Crime Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) implemented the Letters of Authority (LOAs) on 24 warehouses and storage areas believed to house P150 million worth of smuggled agricultural products, such as fresh onions and fresh garlic.
“We will be relentless in the fight against agricultural smuggling. Rest assured that the BOC is steadfast in patrolling our borders and protecting our local farmers against illicit traders of agricultural products,” Rubio said.
The warehouses, majority of which were located in Tondo, Manila, while one each in Malabon City and Binondo, were found with fresh onions, fresh garlic, and other products.
The BOC also coordinated with the respective barangay officials and the PNP before the operation. Warehouse representatives acknowledged the LOAs and allowed the team to inspect the warehouses.
After finding the alleged smuggled products, the team proceeded to temporarily padlock and seal the warehouses and storage areas.
The inventory of the goods in their respective location is scheduled to be conducted by the assigned Customs examiner and would be witnessed by CIIS and Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) agents.
Corresponding seizure and forfeiture proceedings will be conducted 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 BOC’s Action Team Against Smugglers (BATAS) will file appropriate charges and criminal cases against those responsible for the illegal importation of the said agricultural products. With Vito Barcelo