The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has made significant strides in its ongoing campaign against smuggling, resulting in the highest-ever seizure of items in the agency’s history, valued at P31.5 billion, comprising various commodities.

“Ang bureau, under the leadership of Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio, has already got the highest seizure, in a terms of smuggling, nag-resulta na po ito sa 31.5 billion (pesos worth) na various commodities, ito po iyong highest ever record po  ng Bureau of Customs, considering na hindi pa po tapos ang taon,” BOC Director Verne Enciso said in a news forum in Quezon City on Saturday.

Enciso said the achievement goes beyond their regulatory tightening but also signifies the agency’s commitment to tackling illicit trade across the country and maintaining fair trade for legitimate business, especially in the agriculture sector.

For the agriculture sector, the BOC seized a total value of P3.3 billion for this year alone. This compromises rice and other agricultural products, Enciso said.

The agency continues to conduct inspection on warehouses suspected of hoarding and storing smuggled rice pursuant to Executive Order (EO) No. 39.

“The first implemented letters of authority that was conducted in seven warehouses in the vicinity or in the area of Bulacan, four warehouses were issued warrant of seizure and detention resulting in the seizure of 236,571 sacks of rice which originated from Vietnam, Thailand and Pakistan. Three warehouses were released to the claimants with the total of 135,365 rice originating from Vietnam and Thailand,” Enciso reiterated.

The BOC also uncovered 36,000 sacks of rice in Tondo, Manila and a total of 20,000 sacks of rice were discovered in the areas of Las Piñas and Bacoor.

Enciso said the claimants have been given a 15-day period to provide proof of payment of taxes and other regulatory duties for the imported rice stored in these facilities.

Commodities infringing on intellectual property rights is on the top list of seized items, valued at PhP31.5 billion. This is followed by agricultural products, cigarettes, and drugs, respectively. |PND

 (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)