Porac, Pampanga—Some P362 million worth of smuggled vegetables and other agricultural products believed sneaked into the country by unscrupulous Chinese businessmen were destroyed by government authorities led by the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
The smuggled vegetables were brought at the Greenleaf 88 Hazardous Waste Disposal Center in time for the National Food Safety Awareness Week celebration.
Port of Subic District Collector Maritess T. Martin said 18 of the 60 forty-footer container vans carrying assorted vegetables mostly onions, carrots, and broccoli were brought to Greenleaf for condemnation while the remaining container vans were under the custody of the BoC Port of Subic.
“We are just waiting for the court order before we destroy the smuggled content of 42 other containers now being held at Port of Subic,” said Martin on the sideline of the ceremonial condemnation of the seized items.
The Greenleaf 88 Hazardous and Non-hazardous Waste Disposal Facility situated in Barangay Mitla here is accredited by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) due to its sophisticated machinery and equipment, said Robert Gaza, administrator of Greenleaf 88.
Other government agencies that joined the event are the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and the local government unit (LGU) of this town.
A large volume of smuggled vegetables was found to be in an advance state of decomposition when opened by the BoC Port of Subic and Greenleaf personnel.
“These smuggled agricultural products can easily be decomposed due to prolong exposure of container vans to heat while under the custody of BoC Port of Subic,” said Gaza who supervised the opening of 18 cargo trucks.
Department of Agriculture officer in charge Zambales Provincial Director Enrique Tacbad said imported vegetables flooded the local and national markets greatly affect traders and farmers especially in the Mt. Province, one of the biggest sources of vegetables in the country.
Tacbad said consumers do not even know the quality of imported vegetables. “Are these imported vegetables safe for consumption?”
Martin said the smuggled goods entered the Port of Subic and were declared as frozen bread, jams, and yellow onions consigned to Zhenpin Consumer Goods Trading; Duar Te MiraNon-Specialized Wholesale; Gingarnion Agri Trading and Thousand Sunny Enterprise.
“The Port of Subic immediately seized and issued forfeiture process against the cargoes for alleged violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and the DA Circular number 04 series of 2016,” Martin explained.
She said the seized smuggled goods was the largest forfeiture made by the Port of Subic in terms of Agricultural Products.