BOC to release smuggled rice, other foodstuff for calamity victims
Bureau of Customs (BOC) was told to immediately release smuggled rice and other food items seized by the agency to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to augment ongoing government efforts during the onslaught of typhoon “Ompong” in Northern Luzon and other areas this week.
This was the directive of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who was just responding to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to all government agencies to ensure the highest level of readiness for the typhoon.
According to him, “government-to-government transfers in emergency situations can be legally fast-tracked” as in the case of the BOC release of the seized food stocks to the DSWD for disaster relief.
Under Chapter 10, Section 1141 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), goods under BOC custody that are up for disposal “may be donated to another government agency or declared for official use by the Bureau, after approval of the Secretary of Finance, or sold at a public auction within 30 days after a 10-day notice posted at a public place at the port where the goods are located and published electronically or in a newspaper of general circulation.”
To be specific, goods suitable for shelter, food items, clothing materials and medicines “may be donated to the DSWD,” the CMTA states.
Dominguez was present during a command conference led by the President on Thursday afternoon at Camp Aguinaldo to discuss ongoing preparations for the possible disastrous impact of “Ompong,” which could possibly reach supertyphoon status.