Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon said that the uplifting of BOC’s vigilance on imports of farm products was triggered by the bust of a P15-million worth of smuggled fresh red onions contained in 11 40-footer container vans shipped from India through an Indian-registered vessel E.R. Felixstowe 032 to the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
“It is my first time to hear that onions were imported from India since I took office in July 2017,” Faeldon said.
BOC records, so far, bare that commonly-apprehended smuggled onions came from China and other Asian countries.
Faeldon underscored BOC’s fight against smuggling of agricultural products as a top effort between the agency (through point person Federico E. Laciste, Jr.) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), with full support of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco, Jr. who heads the inter-agency committee on anti-agricultural smuggling.
BOC is a member of the inter-agency committee on anti-agricultural smuggling composed of the National Food Authority, DA, and the Office of the President through the Office of the Cabinet Secretary.
“I have directed the officers of 17 ports and sub-ports to give due attention to importation of agricultural products and closely verify, authenticate, and double check its documents and required permits so that BOC and the inter-agency can and will be able to protect the interest and welfare of Filipino farmers and stop all forms of economic sabotage,” Faeldon said.
Faeldon noted that the seizure of the 11 40-footer container vans of fresh red onions was effected in compliance to the memorandum order of Assistant Secretary Laciste dated December 24, 2016, which cited that the filing of SPS permit validation for agricultural products was allowed until December 31, 2016 only. The onion shipments arrived on January 1, 2017, thus its previous import permit elapsed effectively violating the provisions of Republic Act No. 10845, otherwise known as the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.
Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) Director Neil L. Estrella, citing a report from MICP-CIIS Officer-In-Charge Teodoro Sagaral, said that the 11 40-footer CVs onion importations have two consignees namely: Mheriban Sales Corporation (MSC) with address Room 892 Artex Building, 435Juan Luna Street, Barangay 287, Zone 27, Binondo, Manila and Malaya Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MMPC) with address at Mapaniqui, Candaba, Pampanga.
Of the 11 40-footed CVs, eight (8) were consigned to MSC and three (3) were named to MMPC.
Sagaral, in a report, said the 8 40-footer CVs of MSC were contained in import entry numbers: 2013-17, 1935-17, and 1963-17. The 3 CVs of MMPC were lodged under one import entry numbered: 1381-17.
The MSC onions were loaded in CVs numbered: TTNU8282130; GESU9594042; TTNU8280842; SZLU9154400; SZLU9174768; SZLU9174285; TEMU9033802; and TEMU9158271. The MMPC onion shipments were in CVs numbered: SZLU9175194; TTNU8282167; and TTNU8281160.