Philippines/China: BOC to donate PHP20-M worth of seized smuggled rice from China to typhoon victims


The Bureau of Customs (BoC) is looking to donate to the victims of recent calamities in the country the 12 forty-footer containers of imported rice from China with an estimated value of PHP20 million.

According to Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, they will coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to determine where to distribute the apprehended rice shipment.

"Siguro may mga government agencies tayo na kailangan ng bigas. Under the law, we can donate thru DSWD, sila na magdetermine what office will use these. There's so many calamities in the past, we can use these for calamity victims and other purposes," he said after the opening of the seized items at the Port of Manila (POM) on Tuesday.

But, the BoC chief noted that the rice will be tested to determine if they are safe for human consumption.

"We will have it tested but definitely its really rice," he added.

The shipment, which was initially declared to contain leatherette, arrived at the said port on August 20. It was alerted by the BOC Command Center on October 4 based on suspicious images captured by CCTV cameras.

"Leatherete siya na 12 containers. Pag ganyan, masyadong mataas. Do we have a demand for that big volume of leatherette? Kapag sa tingin mo wala tayong demand, iaalert then check mo, nakita mo sa papel na masyadong madami," he explained.

The inspection revealed that all containers carry thousands of sacks of rice, but none with the declared material. The shipment was consigned to RPR International Trading, with business address at Severino Reyes St., Sta. Cruz, Manila.

"Nung nalaman nilang si-nieze namin at inalert namin, inabandon agad [ang shipment]," said Faeldon, adding that this is the first time an importer attempted to smuggle rice of this value into the country via the POM.

With this, he has ordered the suspension of the consignee's accreditation as importer.

"We will suspend their accreditation," Faeldon added.

In the past months, some parts of the country were hit by typhoons such as tropical cyclones Karen and Lawin, which devastated Central and Northern Luzon, respectively.


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