Customs: 103 raps filed vs 'smugglers' of agri products since 2016

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2022 03:18 PM

Courtesy of Bureau of Customs
Courtesy of Bureau of Customs

MANILA — The Bureau of Customs has filed 103 criminal complaints against importers and brokers due to alleged smuggling of agricultural products in the country since 2016, it said Thursday.

In a statement, the agency said it had also confiscated P1.99 billion worth of smuggled agricultural goods since 2019.

"The Bureau of Customs continues to intensify its border protection efforts against the smuggling of agricultural products through enhanced intelligence and enforcement operations and strengthened cooperation with the Department of Agriculture," it said.

The agency's statement came after lawmakers investigate reports of imported vegetables flooding the local market.

A group of farmers from La Trinidad, Benguet recently disclosed that they were losing P2.5 million daily due to illegally traded carrots.

To combat the illicit trade of agricultural crops, the BOC said it is conducting profiling of suspected smugglers.

It has also investigated some of its officials and personnel that are allegedly involved in the illegal activities.

"Furthermore, BOC met with the DA and discussed a new set of measures to curtail the entry of smuggled agricultural commodities and ensure an optimum level of food safety for Filipino consumers," the agency said.

To ensure full transparency in the inspection of agricultural products, customs authorities have allowed the DA access to the X-ray areas.

The BOC will furnish the DA data to validate shipments suspected of agricultural smuggling. This includes the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance and intelligence information.

A technical working group was also created to review and update the regulations and procedures for clearing imported agricultural commodities, the BOC said.

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