P255 million seized smuggled goods at Cebu inspect by Biazon

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 0 comments

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon and Port of Cebu District Collector Edward De La Cuesta on Tuesday, July 30, 2013, led the inspection of over P255 million worth of smuggled goods seized on various dates by Bureau of Customs (BOC) operatives from the Intelligence Group (IG) under Deputy Commissioner Danilo Lim and Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) under Director George AliƱo at the Port of Cebu.

According to Biazon, he wanted to physically inspect the 162,240 bags of smuggled rice in 312 20-footer container vans to check the preparations for its scheduled August 7, 2013 auction. The smuggled rice to be auctioned next month is part of the 1,169 container vans of illegally imported rice from Vietnam that were seized by IG operatives in Cebu in April this year. One lot, comprising 50 container vans of the smuggled rice were earlier auctioned by the BOC raising P14.5 million in additional revenues for the government. However, the scheduled auctions of the remaining rice were deferred after the National Food Authority (NFA) proposed to buy all the rice seized by the BOC.

In a recent letter to Biazon, however, the NFA Administrator stated their no objection to the BOC’s plan to continue the auction of the seized rice at the Port of Cebu, in light of the deterioration of some seized rice stored in a private warehouse. The government expects to raise P245 million from the August 7, 2013 auction of the 312 container vans of smuggled rice from Vietnam.

While in Cebu, Biazon also inspected the over P10 million of smuggled items recently seized by Port of Cebu ESS operatives under Customs Police Major Camilo Cascolan. Among the seized goods for violation of Sections 2503 and 2530 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP) were three units used Mitsubishi Colt vehicles and one used Mazda Elf truck from Japan, one unit payloader from China, seven units used motorcycles from China and Australia, five units used speedboats from Australia , two units used ambulance from Japan and 80 drums of automotive gear oils, among other dutiable goods.

According to Biazon, the latest seizure of smuggled goods in Cebu is the result of the BOC’s enhanced anti-smuggling and anti-corruption drive, in response to President Benigno S. Aquino III’s rebuke on the extent of corruption in the BOC.

“If, for so many reasons, we encountered setbacks in our anti-smuggling campaign before, despite our all-out campaign against smuggling, we don’t expect this to happen now after the President’s resounding call for reforms in the BOC in his State of the Nation Address” Biazon said.

As of press time, the Commissioner’s call for all BOC District Collectors and Sub-Port Collectors to voluntary relinquish their posts to pave the way for the coming wide ranging revamp at the BOC has been complied by all the 37 sub-port collectors and 15 of the 17 District Collectors.

“Our anti-smuggling drive, just like before, will be aggressive and wide ranging. However, this time, with the President’s call to clean the BOC of corrupt officials no matter who their protectors are, there will be no more sacred cows in the BOC. All those caught doing illicit trade in the Bureau will be prosecuted in accordance with law.” Biazon stressed.

From the Bureau of Customs, Department of Finance

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