Customs steps up drive vs rice smuggling

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2020 02:28 PM

Workers load imported rice onto a truck. ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA - The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is stepping up its campaign against rice smuggling by conducting raids on warehouses suspected of storing illegally imported grain following reports by concerned citizens, the Department of Finance said on Tuesday. 

The BOC said the valuation of several rice shipments to “be quite low compared to the prevailing market prices.” 

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said rice stocks imported by private traders would still be subject to “post-modification and post audit” to ensure that undervalued shipments are properly assessed and subsequently paid with the correct amount of duties and taxes.

This was after the Federation of Free Farmers questioned the BOC’s assessment and valuation system on the entry of rice imports.

The BOC said that because rice is considered a “critical” commodity amid the pandemic, traders were allowed to avail of the Provisional Goods Declaration in processing their shipments.

“But those are subject to post-modification and post-audit,” Guerrero said. 

The BOC has also deployed inspectors to warehouses suspected of storing smuggled rice stocks.

“We actually raided them and we found out that many of these warehouses were operating legally and their stocks are covered by proper documents,” Guerrero said.