BOC forfeits P42M worth of smuggled rice after warehouse raid in Zamboanga City

September 15, 2023 People's Journal 195 views

THE Bureau of Customs-Port of Zamboanga (BOC-POZ) forfeited 42,180 sacks of rice worth P42 million, following a raid of a warehouse in Brgy. San Jose Gusu, Zamboanga City.

On May 19, 2023, the BOC, assisted by Coast Guard Intelligence Group-Southwestern Mindanao, Task Force Aduana, and Marine Battalion Landing Team 11, and armed with a Letter of Authority signed by Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio, conducted an inspection of a warehouse in Brgy. San Jose Gusu after receiving information that there were smuggled rice in one of the stalls therein.

Inventory of the subject warehouse revealed 42,180 sacks of Alas Jasmine Fragrant Rice.

Thereafter, the owner’s representative submitted import documents purportedly covering the subject imported sacks of rice pursuant to Section 224 of the Republic Act No. 10863, otherwise known as the “Customs Modernization and Tariff Act” (CMTA).

However, upon verification of documents submitted and investigation by the ESS-CPD and CIIS, it was found out that the subject confiscated goods were not covered by requisite Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPSIC) from the Bureau of Plant Industry. Moreover, there were discrepancies in the actual seized goods from what was declared in the documents presented purportedly covering the same. The proofs of payment submitted referred to a shipment of “White Rice 15% Broken”, while based on the actual examination, the seized sacks of rice were Jasmine Fragrant Rice”.

On September 1, 2023, the BOC-POZ then issued an Order of Forfeiture against the subject sacks of rice for violation of Section 1113 (f) in relation to Section 117 of the CMTA of 2016, Rice Tariffication Law, and Republic Act No. 10845, otherwise known as the “Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016”.

District Collector Arthur G. Sevilla Jr. has stressed that the Port of Zamboanga will continue to monitor and act on reports regarding smuggling in all forms. This is pursuant to Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio’s and President Ferdinand R. Marcos’ marching order to go after hoarders and illegal importers of rice.

The forfeited goods shall be disposed of in a manner provided for by law.