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Authorities seize P100 million in allegedly smuggled agricultural products

Authorities discovered more than P100 million in allegedly smuggled agricultural products in separate operations in Malabon and Manila.

According to a report by Nico Waje on “24 Oras Weekend,” The Bureau of Customs (BOC), Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) raided a cold storage facility in Barangay Catmon, Malabon City and found over 250,000 kilos of onions, garlic, legumes, and other agricultural products stored at the facility.

The produce was valued at P95 million.

According to the BOC, they received a tip that the produce was smuggled.

“We have seen na mga indicators na mukhang ‘di po siya dumaan properly o legally through the port,” said BOC Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service Field Station Chief Alvin Enciso, noting that the products' packaging had no labels.

This is the fifth time they raided the storage facility.

However, the facility's plant manager, George Ong, said that the facility operated legally and the products were legitimately imported from China.

“Actually dumating ‘yang mga imported na ‘yan nandito yung Custom. Nakabantay yan sa 'min 24/7 like yung import permit and business, and so on,” explained Ong.

(When the imported produce arrived, the Customs Bureau was here.  They stood watch 24/7, the import and business permit, and so on.)

Meanwhile, the documents that would prove that the produce was legitimate had yet to be presented, so the cold storage facility was sealed by the authorities.

The owners were given fifteen days to prove that the products were not smuggled.

But if the produce was proven to be smuggled, authorities would confiscate the agricultural products.

“We will dig deeper baka hindi lang ito mga makukuha natin. Baka sanga-sanga na ito,” Enciso added.

(We will dig deeper. These may not be the only items we will seize. This may branch out.)

Meanwhile, authorities also raided and temporarily sealed a storage facility in Manila with over P50 million worth of agricultural products. — Sherylin Untalan/DVM, GMA News