June 21, 2024

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Tuesday seized P4-million worth of illegally imported carrots at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) after receiving information about the entry of misdeclared agricultural products into the port. 

The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) field station MICP received “derogatory information” about a shipment possibly containing smuggled agricultural products, specifically carrots, from China. 

The team requested the issuance of a special stop order signed by MICP District Collector Romy Allan Rosales to examine the shipment. Customs agents found carrots, not steamed buns as declared in the shipping documents

A warrant of seizure and detention on the smuggled carrots was served by BOC personnel.

CIIS Director Jeoffrey Tacio lauded the CIIS MICP and vowed that more operations will be carried out as part of the government’s efforts to contain smuggling.

“If we work like this all the time, we can expect more successful operations against smuggling,” said Tacio, who hails from Benguet where farmers complain of vegetable smuggling. 

CIIS-MICP Chief Alvin Enciso said the operation will not be possible without the information received by the CIIS. 

“The bureau apprehended a number of illegal shipments because of the intelligence from our reliable informants. This is why we need to empower and strengthen our intelligence-gathering to further solidify our fight against smuggling,” Enciso said. 

Based on two alert orders, Silverpop Dry Goods Trading is the consignee of a total of 2,600 cartons of steamed buns. The broker is identified as a certain Nemesio Asan Blancaflor, Jr. 

Both shipments, worth P2 million each, arrived on June 6 from China and were suspected to contain smuggled agricultural products. 

The BOC said the trading company and Blancaflor will face cases including violations of sections 117 (regulated importation and exportation) and 1400 (misdeclaration) in relation to Section 1113 (property subject to seizure and forfeiture) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero earlier said the BOC aims to sustain its anti-smuggling drive even as the Duterte administration draws to a close.

“We have stopped billions of pesos worth of smuggled products through our institutionalized reforms and relentless anti-smuggling efforts,” he said. – Harley F. Palangchao