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Customs raids Pampanga sugar warehouse over alleged hoarding

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Customs raids Pampanga sugar warehouse over alleged hoarding
Sacks of imported sugar, which were suspected to be hoarded from Thailand, stockpiled inside the warehouse.
BOC - Public Information and Assistance Division (BOC-PIAD)

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs raided a warehouse in Pampanga suspected of hoarding thousands of sacks of sugar amid the sugar price hike, Malacañang said Thursday.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. ordered the raid of Lison Building that houses the New Public Market in San Fernando City. BOC is directed to “exercise its visitorial powers to all customs bonded warehouse and to check on the inventory of imported agricultural products with the aim of finding out if there is hoarding of sugar.”

Operatives of the Clark-based Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) and Enforcement and Security Service (ESS)-Quick Reaction Team seized sacks of imported sugar, which were suspected to be hoarded from Thailand, stockpiled inside the warehouse.

BoC agents also seized hundreds of sacks found loaded inside delivery vans.

The warehouse owners may face charges of smuggling in relation to the provisions of The Customs Modernization Act if proven that the sacks of sugar were smuggled.

“The BoC’s Pampanga sugar warehouse may very well serve as a warning to unscrupulous traders who are currently hoarding their stocks of sugar in order to profit from the current artificial sugar shortage situation,” Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez said.

According to reports reaching the Office of the Executive Secretary, such massive importation of sugar could result in windfall profits for the traders of at least P300 million with a portion of the amount earmarked as lobby money.

The Philippines is experiencing a shortage of sugar with makers of three leading brands of carbonated drinks saying there was a problem with the supply.

Marcos said Wednesday he would reorganize the Sugar Regulatory Administration following the issuance of the “illegal” order to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar. The controversy led to a string of resignations. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

FERDINAND MARCOS JR.

SUGAR

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