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Customs donates smuggled rice to Ompong victims

MANILA CITY – Commissioner Isidro Lapeña announced on September 17 morning during the Bureau of Customs’ flag raising ceremony that he has ordered since last week the immediate release of seized smuggled rice for donation to those affected by typhoon Ompong.

“On September 14 and 15, we were on the peak of preparation for the donation of available rice upon instruction of the Secretary of Finance, Secretary Dominguez, that all available food items, rice especially, will be donated for the benefit of the victims of typhoon Ompong,” Lapeña said.

On Friday, September 14, Lapeña signed the deed of donation for the 14 twenty-footer containers of rice which contain a total of 7,000 sacks of rice.

These shipments were earlier confiscated by the Bureau at the Port of Cebu.

Last Thursday, September 13, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez ordered the Bureau of Customs to immediately release seized smuggled rice and other food items for donation to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The donation is intended to augment ongoing government preparations related to typhoon “Ompong” in Northern Luzon and other areas.

According to BOC deputy commissioner for Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group (AOCG) lawyer Edward James Dy Buco, a second batch of donations of goods is expected this week.

Customs Chief Isidro Lapeña emphasized the role and responsibility of the Bureau of Customs in certain cases such as calamities and emergencies.

“This is the way we should act – when there is typhoon, a situation that is very critical that needs our services, then we should be ready anytime to lend a helping hand to those who are in need,” Lapeña said.

Under Section 1141 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), rice and other seized goods that are up for disposal may be donated to another government agency after approval of the Secretary of Finance. (BOC-PIAD)