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BOC seizes P 4.6-M worth of smuggled rice

The Bureau of Customs – Port of Davao intercepted on Sunday, November 19 a vessel carrying 250 tons of smuggled rice said to be worth P4.6 million.
BOC Commissioner Isidro Lapena said the shipment contains around 5,000 bags of rice and believed to have originated from Malaysia.
“The shipment is now in the custody of Philippine Navy in Panacan, Davao City and will be turned over to BOC-Davao for inventory and disposal,” Lapena said.
On November 20, lawyer Erastus Sandino Austria, district collector of the said port issued a warrant of seizure and detention against the cargo vesselfor violation of Sections 1113 (a) (g) (k) and (l-5) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act in relation to NFA Letter Circular No. AO-2013-04-002.
“This is the largest rice smuggling activity apprehended in the Collection District XII this year,” Atty. Austria said.
The apprehension was a result of the concerted efforts of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao Command (NAVFOREM), National Food Authority, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), PNP Maritime Group and the Bureau of Customs.
Meanwhile, the twelve crew members aboard the ship claimed they are Filipino citizens but their seafarer’s identification and record books suggest they are from Malaysia. The Bureau of Immigration is set to confirm the nationality and identities of the 12 people on board the apprehended ship.
Further, MARINA XI says that the boat carrying the 250 tons of rice is not registered as a carrier vessel. All boats and ships, especially those that transport goods are required to register with MARINA.
“The holidays are coming and so are unscrupulous traders. The increase in consumption during Christmas season prompts illegal traders to smuggle more agricultural products,” Lapena said.
“With this, I have directed all ports to strengthen their port operation against smuggled goods,” he added. (BOC News)