P4.75-M smuggled agri products seized in Tondo

P4.75-M smuggled agri products seized in Tondo

MANILA – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday reported the seizure of an estimated PHP4.75 million worth of various agricultural products illegally smuggled into the country and sold at least two warehouses in Manila.

BOC Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Raniel Ramiro said the seizure of the goods stemmed from an operation that originally targeted illegally imported agricultural products in Tondo, Manila.

“When there are operations like these, we inspect further until we find the root cause. These operations have a domino effect on other similar operations. This is still in line with our mandate to protect the country’s borders against the illegal importation of goods. We’re making good our promise of strengthening border control and we’re intensifying efforts to assure the safety of these products,” he said.

Operatives composed of BOC-Intelligence Group (IG) and the Manila International Container Port (MICP) in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) posed as buyers of the goods to prove the presence of the illegal items.

They proceeded first to Carmen Planas at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday to simultaneously serve and implement the Letter of Authority (LOA) signed by Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.

After explaining the LOA to the representatives, the operatives inspected the storage area and found imported red onions, carrots, ginger, garlic, broccoli, red and yellow onions, which amounted to more or less PHP4 million.

The goods were confiscated and immediately hauled to the BOC premises.

Because the owner of the stall cannot present proof of payment of duties and taxes and the corresponding import permit during the inspection, the team temporarily placed issued seals on the entrance gates and shutters until required documents can be presented.

The representative signed an affidavit of undertaking that they will honor the seals and padlocks placed by the team on the gates and undertake not to remove the goods, seals, and padlocks.

In a separate operation at Bilbao St., Tondo, Manila at 11 p.m. of the same day, the team discovered imported sacks of red onions and garlic with an estimated value of PHP750,000. The authorities also presented a Mission Order (MO) and LOA signed by Guerrero.

Similar to the stalls at Carmen Planas, the stall on Bilbao St. was temporarily sealed until the proper documents are provided.

The inventory of the seized goods started on Wednesday and continued until the early hours of Thursday. (PNA)

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