THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) said it seized P701.82-million worth of smuggled agricultural products in the year to date period ending on Aug. 7.
“In addition, the BoC filed 25 criminal cases before the Department of Justice against 71 individuals composed of importers, exporters, and customs brokers for the unlawful import and export of agricultural products with a total dutiable value of P186.98 million and total duties and taxes amounting to P76 million,” the bureau said in a statement on Wednesday.
It is also conducting its own internal administrative investigations against personnel allegedly involved in various irregular activities, it added.
The BoC conducts mandatory inspections of all refrigerated containers before their transfer to a Department of Agriculture (DA)-accredited cold storage facility, it said in the same press release.
The BoC also said Acting Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz met recently with the League of Associations of La Trinidad Vegetables “to discuss measures to suppress agricultural smuggling.”
Mr. Ruiz also had discussions via video with Manuel Lamata, chairman of the United Sugar Producers Federation (UNiFED), to discuss sugar smuggling. — Diego Gabriel C. Robles