200 containers of Thai rice seized in biggest rice smuggling in Duterte admin
The Bureau of Customs (BoC) said it has intercepted at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) 200 containers of Thailand white rice, estimated to be worth P250 million, in what could be the “biggest rice smuggling” so far in this administration.
BoC said Sta. Rosa Farm Products Corp. of 2025 Ipil St., Sta. Cruz initially filed an import entry for the 150 containers of Thai rice, which arrived at the said port on various dates and has been immediately seized.
Upon checking of the lodged entries, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said it was found that there was no import permit from the National Food Authority covering the shipments.
“Since my assumption, this is the biggest rice smuggling intercepted by the Bureau of Customs,” Lapeña said.
NFA Letter Circular No. AO-2013-04-002 states that importers of rice are required to secure the NFA permit prior arrival to the country. The absence of the permit shall be ground for seizure and forfeiture by the Bureau of Customs and the NFA.
“The duties and taxes of the 150 containers were assessed at P31,428,699, however, because of the lack of permit and the failure of the consignee to pay the duties and taxes within 15 days from the date of final assessment, the shipment is subject to seizure,” Lapeña said.
BOC will be charging the importer with Section 1113 under the Customs and Modernization and Tariff Act in relation to NFA Letter Circular No. AO-2013-04-002 and under Republic Act No. 10845, which penalizes agricultural smugglers with life imprisonment, and a fine of twice the fair value of the smuggled agricultural products and the aggregate amount of the taxes/duties/charges avoided.