By William Depasupil/Manila Times
The Bureau of Customs (BoC) has seized 200 container vans loaded with 100,000 bags of smuggled rice estimated to be worth P187mn.
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena inspected the hot goods, which were seized early this month at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) for non-payment of duties and taxes and lack of 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 were consigned to Sta. Rosa Farm Products Corp.
Based on the BoC’s assessment, the 100,000 sacks of smuggled rice were valued at P80mn, with duties and taxes amounting to P31.4mn for the 150 container vans.
The remaining 50 containers are still under abandonment proceedings.
Under Republic Act (RA) 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016, agricultural smuggling, including of rice worth P1mn and above, amounts to the non-bailable offence of economic sabotage.
RA 10845 also penalises agricultural smugglers and their cohorts with life imprisonment, and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural products and the aggregate amount of the taxes, duties or charges avoided.
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