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P125-M rice from Thailand seized at MICP

 

By BETHEENA KAE UNITE

 

One hundred containers of white rice said to be worth P125 million, consigned to a firm with a pending rice smuggling case, were seized at the Manila International Container Port Monday.

A total of 100 20-footer containers loaded with 2,500 tons of white rice from Thailand arrived on June 14 without the necessary import permit from the National Food Authority, according to Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena.

The shipments, Lapena added, contains around 50,000 bags of rice.

It is consigned to Sta. Rosa Farm Products Corp., a rice importer which as has a pending case before the Department of Justice for unlawful importation of 200 containers of rice without the required import permit.

The shipment was processed by customs broker Diosdado M. Santiago of Intramuros, Manila.

It was disclosed that on July 27, lawyer Vener Baquiran, MICP district collector, issued a warrant of seizure and detention against the alerted cargo.

The cargo was apprehended for violation of Section 117 in relation to NFA Letter Circular No. AO-2013-04-002, Section 1401 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and Republic Act No. 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act.

Lapena reiterated that NFA Letter Circular No. AO-2013-04-002 provides that rice importers are required to secure an NFA permit before the shipment arrives in the country.

“Once the NFA is done with the examination and has issued report and recommendation as to the price, we will auction the goods immediately because of its perishable nature. The proceeds of the auction will be held in escrow pending final resolution of seizure and abandonment proceedings,” Lapeña said.

The previous rice shipment named to Sta. Rosa Farms had been auctioned off by the bureau where it earned P177, 990, 888.

The shipment had also no import permit.

Last month, the bureau filed smuggling charges against the owner and officials of Santa Rosa Farms Products Corporation for the unlawful importation of 200 containers of rice from Thailand in June.

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