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22 May 2024, 15:33 PM

Customs Seizes 2M Worth of Onions Misdeclared as Juice

April 11, 2011

The Bureau of Customs seized today two containers of Chinese onions which the consignee tried to pass off as juice.

Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said the consignee, 888 BIZ Inter Trade Corporation represented by its Vice President, Antonio Reyes Bana and customs broker Jefferson Fernandez committed two serious violations: misdeclaration and importation without a valid Bureau of Plant Industry permit.

Records reveal that the contraband in two forty-footer containers arrived August 4 at the Port of Manila on board M/V Montecillo.

Port of Manila District Collector Rogel Gatchalian said the examination conducted on the illegal shipment which he put on alert status on the day it arrived revealed that the containers were actually laden with 5,600 bags of onion.

Gatchalian said it was obvious the importer wanted to take advantage of the minimal 1% rate of duty on imported juice. The duty on imported onions covered by a valid BPI permit is 40%.

The BPI, however, has not issued any permit for onion importation this year.

According to Alvarez, he had approved the recommendation of Gatchalian to immediately suspend the accreditation of the importer and broker to protect the interest of the government.

Gatchalian stressed that this apprehension was in line with the marching order of the Customs Commissioner to make smuggling both risky and unprofitable. He likewise commended the men and women of the Port of Manila for a job well done, and vowed to cause the expeditious forfeiture of the seized onions.

Alvarez said this seizure should come as a welcome development for local onion growers who have long been complaining of unfair competition from imported onions.

The customs chief directed Gatchalian to immediately coordinate with the Run-After-The Smugglers (RATS) Group to expedite the filing of smuggling case against personalities involved in the subject transaction for violation of Sections 3601 and 3602 in relation to Sections 2503 and 2530 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 18, Series of 2000, and Bureau of Plant and Industry Quarantine Circular No. 3 (B), Series of 1996, in relation to Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code.

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