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22 May 2024, 15:36 PM

Smuggled Onions Seized

April 2, 2010

Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez presented today to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Senator Francis Pangilinan, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Alyansa ng Mga Magsasaka executive director Ernesto Ordonez what remains of 8×40 footer containers of onions that were seized by customs operatives September 3 this year.

Alvarez said the onions which came from China were misdeclared as microphones and accessories.

The entire shipment had a dutiable value of P10 million.

According to Alvarez, the onions were consigned to BLUEHARBOR Commercial Inc. located at Unit 5, 2nd Floor, PYF Building, 875A Apacible Street, Corleon Guinto, Ermita, Manila. It is owned by a certain HS Berlioz.

“The seizure of these onions which came close on the heels of smuggling cases the Bureau of Customs had filed against rice smugglers is a concrete manifestation of our agency’s unbreakable will to protect the interest of our farmers whose livelihood is being severely threatened by the influx of cheap agricultural products,” said Alvarez.

Although the Bureau of Customs had received tempting offers from some quarters who would like to buy the onions, Alvarez said he rejected the idea of selling the confiscated commodity because that would go against the grain of his personal commitment to help make the Philippines an exclusive market for locally grown onions and other protected agricultural produce.

According to Alvarez, the fact that the BOC had allowed the seized onions to rot should convince wrongdoers that the agency was determined to make smuggling, especially of onions, rice and other farm products, unprofitable.

Alvarez said the Bureau of Plant Industry had issued a certification that it had not granted a Plant Quarantine Clearance or an import permit for fresh onions since doing so was prohibited under existing regulations.

Chief Superintendent Jose N. Yuchongco, officer-in-charge of BOC’s Enforcement and Security Services said he issued an alert order for the misdeclared shipment because the strong smell of onions had given it away.

He added that four of the eight containers were about to clear customs when the seizure order was implemented.

Deputy Commissioner Gregorio Chavez, concurrently the Executive Director of BOC’s Run After the Smugglers (RATS) program, said that charges would soon be filed against the consignee (Berloiz) for violating Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code (falsification of commercial documents); Section 3601 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (failure to secure an import permit); and, Section 3602 of the TCCP (intentional and fraudulent misdeclaration).

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