BOC seizes P35.6M worth of smuggled onions from Hong Kong

November 17, 2011 10:30 pm 

By Joann Santiago

MANILA, Nov. 17 – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has seized P35.6 million worth of shipments of smuggled onions from Hong Kong that were declared as household wares at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said personnel from MIPC’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) discovered the contraband, which weighs about 297,000 kgs. and placed in 11 40-foot container vans.

He said seizure of the smuggled onions was a big help for domestic onion growers, especially now that demand for this item would increase with the onset of the holiday season.

He said that “if there is a need for our country to import onions, the Department of Agriculture (DA) would say so and issue the necessary import permits.”

“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 during the holidays, to the detriment, of course, of our local onion raisers,” he said.

MICP district collector Ricardo Belmonte said two container vans of the smuggled items were consigned to Widsets Trading, five container vans to Binondo-based Royal Halo Enterprises and four container vans to Aldero Enterprises.

Also, BOC Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group Danilo Lim said seizure of the 11 container vans of imported onions was the result of their increased monitoring and surveillance of movement of agricultural and food products, especially with the onset of the holiday season.

“We know that the months of November and December are the most active months for smugglers. Thus, we have doubled our efforts in monitoring the movements of cargoes in all BOC ports,” he said.

He said that they have received reports that the contraband were supposed to be unloaded at the Port of Davao but were diverted to Manila when intelligence operatives were at the southern port for a special operation. (PNA)

DCT/RMA/JS/utb

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