CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Imported red onions, estimated to be worth PHP20 million, were recently seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and its intelligence branch at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.
The seizure occurred at a time when the price of red onions in the local market has reached as high as PHP500 per kilo during the Christmas season.
In an interview Monday, lawyer Justin Roman Geli, chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) in Northern Mindanao, said contraband from China was wrongfully declared as bread and pastries.
“Examination of Alerted Shipment consigned to Asterzenmed Inc. with Bill of Lading (BL) nos. SITTARCD1460239 and SITTARCD145254 with container numbers TLLU1127887 and OTPU6548034 declared as Bread and Pastries found positive to contain undeclared onions,” a report from the CIIS said.
Geli said the two container vans were loaded with about 50,000 kilos of red onions. It arrived at the MCT on Dec. 21 and seized on the same day.
“We have already requested for an issuance of warrant seizure and detention of the shipment,” he said.
BOC-10 said District Collector Alexandra Lumontad has issued a pre-lodgement control order against the imported cargo following a joint request from the CIIS and the Customs’ Enforcement and Security Service.
Lumontad issued a stern warning against unscrupulous individuals attempting to defraud the government of lawful revenues.
“Even during the holiday season, we will not wane our guards against agricultural smuggling, which affects our revenue collection for not only the government coffers but also our local farming industry,” he said.
Warrants of Seizure and Detention were issued against the shipments for misdeclaration in violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and Department of Agriculture regulations. (PNA)