DA puts all shipments of agriculture products on ‘alert status’
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has requested the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to place under “alert status” all shipments declared to contain agricultural products, following the recent discovery of 17 containers vans filled with smuggled onions from China at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) this week.
“Except for institutional legit importers like San Miguel Corp. and Purefoods, we have requested BOC to be on the lookout for all incoming agri shipments. Our request covers all ports around the country,” Agricultue Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
Under the “alert status” enforcement, all containers shipped to MICP and other ports will undergo a mandatory inspection and stripping of containers.
On Monday, DA, together with the BOC team, inspected four of the 17 containers believed to contain smuggled onions. Each container, which declared to be filled with apples, contained 35 metric tons (MT) onions with an estimated value of P2 million.
DA ordered cancellation of accreditation of the identified consignees and ordered the immediate quashing of the seized products.
“We will have to destroy it because it does not have Sanitary and Phytosanitary Certificate (SPS) import permits and might pose serious risk in Philippine agriculture,” Piñol said.