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Customs finds P120 million in suspected smuggled food products in Navotas

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) found P120-million worth of suspected smuggled food products in Navotas last week, with most of the seafood coming from China.

The BOC said the items were discovered during raids on seven warehouses or cold storage facilities in Navotas last Friday, March 17, acting on letters of authority signed by BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio.

The agency said its team found frozen pork legs, chicken drumsticks, pork spareribs, squid rings, crayfish, pork ears, pork hinges, abalone, Brawley beef, pork aorta, chicken feet, pork riblets, golden pampano, pangasius fillet, boneless pork ham, fish tofu, and pork ears.

Most of the frozen seafood came from China, while the beef came from Brazil and Australia, the pork from the United States, and pork ears from Russia.

BOC operatives also found an empty warehouse that was said to be purposely made to become a cold storage facility.

The warehouses have since been temporarily padlocked, with the keys turned over to barangay officials.

The BOC said the owners of the goods will be asked to present importation documents or proof of payment. The items would be seized should they fail to submit the proper documents.

“This is just one of the ways how the bureau protects the public — by keeping these products away from consumers and thus safeguarding the livelihoods of those who go through the proper legal process of bringing in imported goods,” Deputy Commission for Intelligence Group Juvymax Uy said.

The BOC is mandated to assess and collect customs revenues from imported goods and exercise border control to prevent the entry of smuggled goods. — DVM, GMA Integrated News