Heightened DA-BOC partnership boosts fight vs. smuggling

Heightened DA-BOC partnership boosts fight vs. smuggling

MANILA – Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar on Monday vowed to run after smugglers of agricultural products after his agency and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) agreed to further elevate their partnership by strengthening guidelines and procedures on handling of imported food items.

This, after the DA and the BOC on Oct. 8 signed an agreement seeking to strengthen the “second border” inspections and create a technical working group (TWG) to review the 15-year-old guidelines and procedures on handling imported food items.

“This is a milestone in the partnership between the DA and BOC. Everything that we requested were allowed and in sync with the other agency. My mindset and mechanism are now well in place. We agreed to continue to elevate our partnership,” Dar said in a virtual press briefer on Monday.

“Meron tayong mahuhuli (We will catch them),” he added.

Dar said the TWG is a combined teams of officials from both the DA and BOC.

“They will recommend yung (the) harmonization of guidelines, from first border inspection to the strengthening of the second border inspection,” Dar said.

Dar said some guidelines are needed to be harmonized for the two agencies to work accordingly and efficiently with each other.

In previous reports, farmers from the Cordillera Administrative Region were forced to throw away tomatoes and carrots due to the entry of various agricultural products mostly from China.

The new measures on anti-smuggling efforts on fresh and frozen agri-fishery cargoes will continue to have an “open-close” examination at the “first border,” Dar said.

He said the imported goods will now also be subjected to a stricter and 100 percent inspection once they arrive at the designated warehouses or “second border.”

The BOC on Friday reported that they have already filed three criminal complaints against the importers and customs brokers of misdeclared goods amounting to over PHP12 million. (PNA)

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