BOC continues issuance of  warrants of seizure, detention against suspected smugglers and hoarders; files economic sabotage cases before DOJ

In line with the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to combat hoarding and illegal importation of rice, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has discovered over 200,000 sacks of rice in four different warehouses in Bulacan, prompting the issuance of warrants of seizure and detention.

The BOC told the Office of the President that a total of 236,571 sacks of rice were found in four warehouses in Bulacan as of September 29, which prompted the agency to issue the necessary warrants.

The BOC said they are still waiting for the comments of the government prosecutor as far as the discovery of the sacks of rice is concerned.

The BOC also said that, as of September 29, it has also issued letters of authority (LOA) to warehouses in Cavite and in Las Piñas City, and two warehouses in Manila. It is now awaiting the submission of necessary documents from the two warehouse owners in Cavite and Las Piñas City.

The BOC said that “inventory is ongoing for the other two warehouses” in Manila.

On Friday, the Bureau of Customs Bureau Action Team Against Smuggling (BATAS) filed four smuggling charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against rice smugglers in Bulacan while a case build-up is being conducted for the filing of charges against the reported smugglers in Zamboanga City.

Lawyer William Balayo, the acting Director of BOC’s Legal Service, said over the weekend that  they filed three charges of economic sabotage against three importers while one was for the violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) under Agricultural Product Smuggling.

The charges stemmed from the inspection they conducted in Bulacan last August 24.

The BOC also seized over 42,000 sacks of smuggled rice in Zamboanga City that were eventually donated to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) after the importers failed to present documents to defend the legality of their importation.

The donated rice were distributed to beneficiaries of DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) led by President Marcos himself in Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay; San Roque, Zamboanga City; General Trias City, Cavite; Iriga City, Camarines Sur; San Andres, Manila; Dapa, Surigao del Norte; and Dinagat Islands.

The President said he has directed the BOC to continue to go against smugglers and hoarders who are behind the price manipulation schemes that are driving up the price of rice.

“Ang bukbok na lubos na sumisira sa balanse ng suplay at presyo ng bigas sa merkado [ay] ang hoarding at saka ang smuggling, at price manipulation na ginagawa ng mapagsamantalang mga negosyante,” President Marcos said.

The chief executive also emphasized that the government will relentlessly run after them to ensure affordable staple food for the Filipino people. | PND