By Betheena Kae Unite
The Bureau of Customs seized a shipment of 100,000 sacks of Thai rice worth P250 million contained in 200 container vans at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) Thursday.
This is the largest haul of smuggled rice seized by the bureau under the watch of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña.
Upon verification, the rice shipment which did not have import papers nor a permit from the National Food Authority (NFA)came from Vietnam and consigned to Sta. Rosa Farm Products Corporation.
Lapeña said cargo will be auctioned in five to 10 days, Lapena added. The legal process of the seizure will be fast tracked because these are perishable goods.
The bureau may likewise coordinate with NFA for a possible government-to-government agreement and donate the rice instead of auctioning it. Shortage in the rice supply may prompt the bureau to donate the rice to the NFA.
Meanwhile, the seized counterfeit cigarettes, bags, shoes, and beauty products worth P22 million have been destroyed at the same port in Manila.
The Customs chief said the public condemnation of seized goods will be a regular activity of the bureau to show the public that the seized items are indeed being destroyed and not being recycled or sold to the public.
“We have to destroy this para hindi lumabas ito para maibenta ulit sa market (to prevent this from being brought to the market). This will now be our regular destruction and will be witnessed by the media as well as other government agencies concerned,” Lapena said.
The bureau recently crushed over a hundred smuggled luxury motorcycles and vehicles worth P37.41 million in Manila to prevent smugglers from getting the seized vehicles back through auction.