MANILA – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) found smuggled agricultural products worth PHP101.6 million in 17 shipments at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
In a statement Sunday, the BOC said several containers mostly from China were found to contain misdeclared and undeclared items, such as red and white onions, mushroom balls and sugar during a series of physical examinations on Feb. 27 and 28.
The assigned Customs examiners found red and white onions, mushroom balls and sugar in shipments to three local consignees— RYY Consumer Goods Trading, MFBY Consumer Goods Trading and M.S. Fab Builder.
The shipments arrived at the Manila port from Dec. 29, 2022 to Feb. 12.
“While we aren’t done yet examining all these suspected containers, we’re already working on getting to the bottom of these illegal operations. Our teams are working day and night to protect our borders,” Juvymax Uy, deputy commissioner for Intelligence, said.
The Alert Orders were issued after Director Verne Enciso of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) received “derogatory information” about the contents of the containers.
“Originally, these shipments were declared to have pizza dough, shabu-shabu balls like fish balls and some pneumatic tools. But, so far, of the 22 containers we have opened this week, we already found agricultural products, such as sugar and onions,” he said.
After receiving the report from the Customs Intelligence Group, Enciso put on hold the containers and led the physical examinations.
“It’s critical for us here at the port to act swiftly on these matters because if these containers are indeed carrying agricultural products, then we have to coordinate with other key government agencies for the proper documentation. Here, we’re not just on the lookout for contraband items like illegal drugs and such, but we’re also protecting our markets from the economic impact of smuggled agri goods,” he said. (PNA)