MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs seized around 100,000 kilograms of garlic smuggled from Hong Kong at the Port of Batangas.
The garlic, packed in ten-kilogram bags purportedly from Taiwan, arrived in two separate shipments on June 1 and June 12 on vessels MV "MCC SANDIWA" and MV "RUBINA SCHULTE".
The garlic shipments were misdeclared as "cocoa beans to be used as raw material for chocolate." Since it was misdeclared, the shipment had no phytosanitary clearance as mandated by the Department of Agriculture for imported agricultural products.
A Warrant of Seizure and Detention was issued against the two shipments for violations of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.
The shipment was consigned to a certain Good Earth Merchandising, based in Bgy. Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City; and was brokered by an Antonio Enriquez, with address at Tuktukan, Guiguinto, Bulacan. However, the consignee was said to be non-existent.
The garlic shipments will now undergo forfeiture proceedings in favor of the government.
The Customs' seizure of smuggled garlic comes as prices have skyrocketed to as much as P400 per kilo from the usual price of
P60 to P90 per kilo.
The Department of Agriculture is now investigating the spike in the price of garlic.