P10M smuggled rice seized by Customs

A March 6, 2013, press release from the Bureau of Customs

Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Ruffy Biazon today (March 6, 2013) led the inspection of 20 twenty-footer container vans of illegally imported rice from Taiwan worth over P10 million which were seized earlier by operatives of the BOC’s Intelligence Division under Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group (IG) Danilo Lim for violation of Section 2503 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) at the Port of Cebu.

According to Biazon, the 20 containers of illegally imported rice were consigned to two Cebu- based rice importers at ten container vans per consignee. Misdeclared as STC wall insulator slabs to avoid the required rice importation permit from the National Food Authority, the illegally imported rice which were consigned to ARFG Trading and Cargo Facilities Services and JBD Trading, both of Mandaue City, arrived at the Port of Cebu during the third week of February this year. Their corresponding Alert Orders were issued on February 22, 2013.

Biazon said today’s seizure will serve as a warning to traders, who may be contemplating of illegally importing rice, to think twice before they consider smuggling. “We will strongly pursue our anti-smuggling program until it hurts smugglers the most,” Biazon said.

The BOC has lately undertaken aggressive preemptive moves against smuggling, particularly on the illegal importation of agricultural products like rice.

As of last week, around 38 suspicious and fictitious rice importers have already been delisted by the BOC Interim Customs Accreditation and Registration (ICARE) unit from its list of BOC accredited importers and brokers.

According to Biazon the two consignees of the smuggled Taiwan rice will not only be blacklisted, its owners and brokers would also be charged in court.

“We will never allow violators of the country’s Customs laws, particularly those involved in the illicit importation of rice to be left unpunished. We shall, as much as possible, apply the full force of the law, if only to protect the interest of the local farmers.” Biazon said.

For his part, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group Danilo Lim said the Cebu smuggled rice seizure is the result of IG’s enhanced monitoring and intelligence work to curb smuggling and to generate more revenues for the government.

“The BOC will never compromise the interest of the government and local farmers to smugglers. We shall enforce the provision had a good start this year when we were able to surpass our collection target for January this year. We have enhanced our anti-smuggling efforts to generate more revenues for the government,” Lim said.