10 Million Smuggled Onions Seized by BOC
Agricultural products smugglers are now reeling from the unrelenting anti-smuggling campaign of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) when Manila International Container Port – Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (MICP-CIIS) operatives under Bienvenido Rubio recently alerted and caused the seizure of four (4) forty-footer container vans of illegally imported onions worth over Php10 million from China.
According to Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon the illegal onion shipment arrived at the MICP a couple of weeks ago in three separate shipment and were consigned to three trading companies. One container van was consigned to Kremple Import Export Trading, another container van was consigned to RSG Marketing, while two were consigned to Reachable Enterprises.
“I have warned time and again that misdeclaration would soon be a thing of the past at the Bureau of Customs because of our enhanced monitoring of all cargo movements at the ports, most especially the agricultural products and food importations, to protect the interest of our local farmers,” Biazon said, adding that, “Perhaps, the importers of these onions from China took my warning for granted and declared their onion shipment as pears and dry goods, and now they are paying costly for their hard headedness.”
According to Biazon, they will investigate the circumstances of this smuggling attempt to identify all those involved in it and to prosecute them in court.
Under current Department of Agriculture (DA) and BOC importation rules, onion importation is totally banned, unless duly authorized by the DA during time of onion shortage in the country.
For his part Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group Danilo Lim, the intelligence arm of the BOC that has supervision and control over the CIIS stressed that, the recent onion seizure at the MICP was the result of his units enhanced intelligence network.
“We expect more seizures of illegally imported items to come as, not only have we tightened our intelligence network both locally and internationally, but we have also made some re-alignments in the Intelligence Group’s operational flow,” Lim said, even as he stressed that “The BOC’s Interim Customs Accreditation and Revenue Enhancement (ICARE) unit for instance, the unit that accredits all those wanting to do business with the BOC, is now under the IG.”
According to Lim the transfer of supervisory control over ICARE, which is now headed by lawyer Rhea Gregorio, from the Revenue Collection and Monitoring Group (RCMG) to IG, as part of Biazon’s Customs reform agenda to enhance revenue collections, has enabled them to develop a risk evaluation measure for BOC accredited clients and a list of high-risk importers.