UPDATE: Smuggled rice from Vietnam seized at Manila port

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized 200 container vans loaded with 1,000 bags of smuggled rice worth about P187 million on Thursday.

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena inspected the “hot goods,” which were seized in early June at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) for non-payment of corresponding duties and taxes and don’t have the necessary importation permit from the National Food Authority (NFA).

“This is so far the biggest haul of smuggled agricultural products under my watch,” Lapena said.

The shipments came from Vietnam and consigned to Sta. Rosa Farm Products Corporation.

Under Republic Act (RA) 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016, agricultural smuggling, including rice worth P1 million and above, is punishable by a non-bailable offense of economic sabotage.

RA 10845 also penalizes agricultural smugglers and their accomplices with life imprisonment, and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural products and the aggregate amount of the taxes/duties/charges avoided.

Lapena said that charges of misdeclaration under the Customs and Modernization and Tariff Act and under RA 10845 would be filed against the importer.

Based on BOC’s assessment, the 100,000 sacks of smuggled rice are valued at P80 million with duties and taxes amounting to P31.4 million for the 150 container vans while the remaining 50 containers are still under abandonment proceedings. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL, ARIC JOHN SY CUA


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