RATS runs after onion, potato smugglers

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 14 2012 02:23 PM | Updated as of Jun 15 2012 01:07 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs' (BOC) Run After the Smugglers (RATS) Group filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) another round of smuggling cases, this time, against 4 traders allegedly responsible for the unlawful importation of onions and potatoes amounting to P43 million.

Charged were Nazario R. Canono and Tirso S. Otar of D'Golden House, Vivian P. Rosales, proprietor of Alvee Trading, and William M. Lejano, proprietor of Aya Day Trading.

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said Canono, Otar, Rosales and Lejano imported 23x40 containers of onions and potatoes at the Port of Davao without the necessary import permits and clearances from the Department of Agriculture (DA), and misdeclared the goods as 'shortening, yeast, lanolin and margarine.'

"These attempts to bring into the country illegally imported onions are not intended to fill in a demand or shortage, but simply, to exploit the high demand for the crop, to the detriment, of course, of our local farmers," Biazon told reporters in a news conference.

He pointed out that the days of smugglers are already numbered with the implementation of 100% examination by customs officers on all food importations.

The BOC's Run After the Smugglers (RATS) Group has filed a total of 37 cases, so far, under the leadership of Biazon.