MANILA, Philippines - Amid reports of rampant rice smuggling in the country, the Department of Finance and Bureau of Customs have released the list of top rice importers for 2013.
In its latest Tax Watch ad, the DOF and BOC featured rice importers and the dutiable value of rice they imported and the corresponding customs duties paid.
The state-run National Food Authority imported P4.35 billion worth of rice in 2013, but it is exempted from customs duties.
Only four companies paid more than P100 million in taxes - Silent Royalty Marketing, Bold Bidder Marketing and General, Starcraft International Trading and Inter-Continental Grains.
Interestingly, Silent Royalty, Starcraft International and Bold Bidder Marketing are currently embroiled in rice smuggling cases.
Silent Royalty imported P983.586 million worth of rice in 2013, and paid P421.54 million in customs duty, while Bold Bidder imported P718.58 million worth of rice and paid P307.09 million in customs duty. Starcraft imported P550.736 million worth of rice and paid P226.88 million in customs duty.
The Bureau of Customs had held several rice shipments of Starcraft and Bold Bidder since they were brought in without import permits. However, several courts in Manila, Davao and Batangas granted the traders' petition for injunction against the BOC and NFA, and ordered the release of the rice shipments.
The BOC and DOF's Tax Watch ad also showed the Department of Social Welfare and Development, as well as Bayer Cropscience Inc, SL Agritech Corp., Jardine Distribution and Pioneer Hi-Bred Philippines, did not pay any customs duty on their rice imports.
The DOF and BOC clarified that certain importers are exempt from customs duties, as specified in the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), so some importers may have zero corresponding customs duties paid.
Here is the rest of the list of the country's top rice importers for 2013: