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24 July 2024, 17:57 PM

BOC padlocks warehouses storing P505M worth of imported rice in Bulacan

August 24, 2023

Following the directive of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to protect the country’s agricultural assets through intensified border security, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday, August 24, 2023, found an estimated P505 million worth of suspected smuggled imported rice in various warehouses in Bulacan province.

A team led by Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) Director Verne Enciso, with CIIS-Manila International Container Port (CIIS-MICP) agents, and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Task Force Aduana, inspected identified warehouses in Intercity Industrial Complex in San Juan, Balagtas, Bulacan, which were found to contain about 202,000 sacks of imported rice grains from Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

The public viewing of the subject sacks of imported rice was attended by Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Representatives Erwin Tulfo, Congressmen Wilfrido Mark Enverga and Congressmen Ambrosio Cruz Jr.

The visitorial and inspection authority of the Bureau of Customs is in accordance with Chapter 2, Section 224 of Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

“I have ordered the owners of these warehouses to present the necessary documents that will support its rice importation, as well as the amount of rice they have been keeping in these warehouses,” Rubio said.

“Smuggling agricultural products, in particular rice which is the staple food in every Filipino home, poses a grave threat to our economy. It creates a ripple effect that impacts the core of our agricultural sector—our farmers,” the Commissioner added.

Intelligence Group Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy underscored that the BOC coordinated with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Balagtas, as well as with personnel from Barangay San Juan in the implementation of the Letters of Authority (LOA) signed by Commissioner Rubio.

“Only after the LOA were acknowledged by the warehouse representatives did the team proceed to inspect the storage, where they found hundreds of thousands of sacks of rice grain we suspect to be lacking the necessary importation documents,” he said.

For his part, CIIS Director Verne Enciso explained that: “as with our protocol, the team padlocked and sealed the warehouse temporarily and proceeded with the inventory of the subject sacks of imported rice”.

The assigned Customs examiners conducted the inventory of the goods. This was witnessed by agents from the CIIS, PCG, Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) as well as the warehouse representatives.

If found without proper importation documents and proof of payment of correct duties and taxes, corresponding seizure and forfeiture proceedings will be initiated against the subject imported sacks of rice for violation of Sec. 1401 (Unlawful Importation) 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).#

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