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P20-M smuggled rice seized

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The Bureau of Customs has foiled an attempt to smuggle P20-million worth of rice imported from China at the Port of Manila.

The BoC intercepted the rice loaded in 12 container vans after the shipment was alerted by the agency’s command center last October 4 based on suspicious images captured by closed-circuit television cameras at the PoM.

“When they knew we seized and alerted (the rice shipment). They abandoned it immediately,” Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said in a media viewing of the shipment yesterday.

The BoC chief identified the shipment’s consignee as RPR International Trading while the broker was Ibarra Tiangco.

Faeldon ordered the suspension of their accreditation in the Department of Finance- attached agency.

The shipment was declared to contain leatherette upon arrival at the PoM last August 20.

But actual inspection showed the container vans were filled with rice from China.

Faeldon claimed that this is the first time an importer attempted to smuggle rice at the PoM in his almost four months in office.

He said that previous rice seizures of BoC were mostly in Mindanao where they intercepted five vessels carrying illegally imported rice.

Faeldon said they also swooped down on two warehouses in Zamboanga where they caught the actual repacking of smuggled Vietnamese rice.

The BoC is considering donating the seized rice to government agencies tasked to distribute relief goods to typhoon victims.

“We have government agencies that need rice. Under the law, we can donate through DSWD. They will determine what office will use that. There are so many calamities in the past. We can use these for calamity victims and other purposes,” he said. (Raymund F. Antonio)

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