Customs officials seize P140 million-worth of undeclared agricultural products in Muntinlupa City

In the progressive city of Muntinlupa, elements of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized several undeclared agricultural products estimated to be worth almost P140 million, according to a news article by the Philippine News Agency (PNA). The seizure happened before 2022 ended and there is a disturbing trend happening lately.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the PNA news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Saturday reported the seizure of undeclared agricultural products amounting close to PHP140 million from a Muntinlupa City-based company.

According to Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz, the containers were declared to contain udon noodles and frozen dimsum balls, but upon examination, the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service at Manila International Container Port (CIIS-MICP) found that it contained undeclared fresh red and white onions, frozen ox tripe, frozen barbecue, and frozen crawfish.

The PHP139,769,500 worth of undeclared agricultural products underwent examinations from Dec. 27 to 29, 2022.

The shipments arrived from China between Nov. 27, 2022 and Dec. 3, 2022 at the MICP and were consigned to Taculog J International Consumer Goods Trading located at B4 L7 Mariategui HMOA, Alabang.

Ruiz said he was surprised that the same company almost managed to bring in hundreds of millions worth of smuggled agricultural products into the country in less than two months.

Although I am proud of our men and what they were able to accomplish these past weeks, I am appalled at the gall of these groups. We have reports coming in that a kilo of red onions sells for PHP720 in the markets. Bringing a hot commodity like onions into our borders without going through the proper procedures is an affront to our farmers, the people who make sure we have enough supply of it,” he said in a statement.

The operation came after the bureau reported the apprehension of PHP171.35 million worth of smuggled agricultural products, including fresh red and white onions, from containers that arrived between Nov. 12 and Dec. 3, 2022 consigned to the same company.

The shipment that arrived on Nov. 25 and examined on Dec. 28 was initially declared to contain frozen lobster, frozen prawn balls, and frozen crab stick but was later found to also have undeclared frozen ox tripe worth PHP15.5 million.

On the other hand, containers that arrived on Nov. 27 and examined from Dec. 27 to 29, were declared to have udon noodles, frozen lobster, frozen prawn balls, and frozen crab sticks. But upon examination, these containers had undeclared fresh red onions, frozen barbecue, and frozen crawfish that amounted to PHP46.75 million.

Four shipments that arrived on Dec. 3 and examined from Dec. 27 to 29, were declared to contain only udon noodles, but examiners instead found undeclared fresh red and white onions amounting to an estimated total value of PHP77,519,500.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: If you are a Muntinlupa City resident, what is your reaction to this development? How expensive are the prices of agricultural products right now locally?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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