July 20 the Bureau of Customs seized on three 40 feet containers of onions and garlic worth $ 4.2 million at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) after it found that not all of the agricultural products were covered by an import permit.
Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) Director Neil Anthony Estrella said the shipment came from China and entered the Manila port last July 7.
“The garlic has an import permit, but not the onions, so the products were seized for misdeclaration,” he told reporters during a media viewing at MICP.
He said that based on the import permit, the shipment was supposed to be only garlic, but it was used as a cover up for the onions.
CIIS-MICP Intelligence Officer Teodoro Sagaral said examiners found 80 bags of garlic out of 2,800 bags in the shipment.
The shipment was consigned to Equicent Import and Export Corporation with business address at Velco Centre Building in Port Area, Manila. The broker was identified as Flaviano Dela Cruz.
Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) senior agriculturalist Bartolome Mesolania said once the smuggled onions and garlic reached the market, they could depress the prices of similar products.
“It could bring the prices of garlic and onions to go down and that would force our local farmers to also bring down the prices of their products,” Mesolania said.
At the same time, the shipment could “displace the locally-produced goods and they could raise the prices of the onions and garlic even if these were bought at a low price,” he said.
By stopping the entry of the onions and garlic, Customs and BPI were also able to prevent the possible entry of exotic pests and diseases that might have come with the shipment.
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Posted by Andrey Marchenko
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