2 rice traders charged anew for smuggling

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2015 12:56 PM | Updated as of Mar 19 2015 08:56 PM

Smuggled rice seized in Cagayan de Oro.

MANILA, Philippines - Two rice traders based in Cagayan De Oro City were charged by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for allegedly smuggling in some 780,000 kilos of rice worth P31.2 million.

Charged before the Department of Justice (DOJ) are Elmer Caneta, owner of EC Peninsula Commercial; and Michael Abella, owner of New Dawn Enterprises.

Customs Commissioner John Sevilla said that aside from the absence of the required import permit from the National Food Authority (NFA), the rice shipments of the two traders, which arrived in December 2014 at the Port of Cagayan De Oro, were misdeclared as "kitchen wares and tiles."

The respondents were earlier slapped with similar charges. In January, charges against them were also filed with the DOJ for the alleged illegal importation of 1.3 million kilograms of glutinous rice worth P82.68 million also through the Cagayan De Oro Port.

BOC records show that a total of 198 smuggling-related cases have been filed by the bureau through its Run After the Smugglers (RATS) program; 47 of these cases have already reached the courts.

The BOC's RATS program was formally launched in 2006.