In a briefing, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he asked Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña to place under “alert status” all incoming shipments declared as agricultural products.
Edd Gumban
Agriculture alert up after onion smuggling
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - April 25, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — An alert status has been activated by the government following recent onion smuggling from China worth P34 million, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said yesterday.

In a briefing, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said he asked Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña to place under “alert status” all incoming shipments declared as agricultural products.

“This will cover ports all over the country. Alert status means there will be mandatory opening of containers that have agricultural products,” Piñol said.

“This is also intended to address once and for all the lucrative illegal activity of bringing in agricultural products, which not only defrauds government of revenues but also adversely affects our farmers and fishermen,” he added.

The decision came after the DA and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) opened 17 40-foot refrigerated containers from China which had been declared to contain apples but were actually filled with first-class onions.

“We received the information last week that several containers were arriving. They declared that these contained apples since the fruit commodity has no tariff compared to the 35 percent levy on onions,” Piñol explained.

Each container weighs about 35 metric tons (MT) and is estimated to cost P2 million each.

Piñol also disclosed that DA Undersecretary for operations Ariel Cayanan received a call from an unknown person who offered money in exchange for sparing the containers from inspection.

“The initial offer was P20,000 then it reached P200,000. Then they even increased it to P2 million,” Cayanan said.

The DA identified three consignees – Kasaligan International in Port Area and Skyrocket Trading and Epitome International Trading, both in Binondo.

The DA, however, has no information as to where the shipments are supposed to be delivered.

“The filing of the cases will be done by the BOC, and since they applied for accreditation with us, we will order the cancellation of their permits,” Piñol said.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ONION SMUGGLING
Philstar
Facebook
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with