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By Junex Doronio

LIKE A SWORD OF DAMOCLES, a “big change” is expected to rock the Bureau of Customs (BOC) following the marching order of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to intensify its anti-smuggling campaign and prevent the entry of smuggled rice in the country.

“We need to tighten our guards against the illegal importation or smuggling of rice because what happens, this smuggled rice is not immediately being sold, they will hoard the supply to trigger rice prices to increase,” said the President who is also the concurrent Agriculture Secretary.

This developed as the President led the distribution of around 1,500 sacks of confiscated smuggled rice to indigent families in Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay on Tuesday, September 19.

It was gathered that the rice distributed was part of the 42,180 sacks of premium quality rice worth P42 million seized by the BOC-Port of Zamboanga under District Collector Arthur Sevilla Jr. during its raid at a warehouse in Brgy. San Jose Gusu, Zamboanga City on Sept. 15.

“That is why I directed our partners in the customs to tighten well and not allow the entry of the smuggled rice,” PBBM said.

Rumors swirled at the BOC that PBBM will be replacing the holdover appointees of former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

At the same time, the complaints of several Customs brokers and stakeholders about the “unjustified high duties and taxes” imposed on the imported goods continued to persist.