The Bureau of Customs (BOC), under the directive of Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio, heightened its campaign against agricultural smuggling. As a result, the BOC seized various smuggled agricultural products and filed criminal cases before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against unscrupulous importers.
When he assumed the position as Head of the Bureau on February 13, Customs Commissioner Rubio committed to protecting the country’s borders from smuggling, especially those involving agricultural products.
Since then, the Bureau has issued five warrants of seizure and detention against various agricultural products.
Recently, Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio, with DA Assistant Secretary James Layug, spearheaded and witnessed the physical examination of 58 containers with 30,000 sacks of misdeclared refined sugar at the Subic Bay New Container Terminal last March 2.
“We strongly condemn those unethical acts of fraudulent importers as they endanger the health and safety of local consumers and negatively impact the livelihood of local farmers and businesses,” Commissioner Rubio added.
Furthermore, the BOC filed four criminal cases before the DOJ against importers presumed to smuggle agricultural products, violating Republic Act (RA) No. 10863, otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), Department of Agriculture – Administrative Order No. 09, Series of 2010 (DAO No. 09-2010), and Sections 3 and 4 of Republic Act No. 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.
The Commissioner also met with DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Boying Remulla on March 8 to discuss the DOJ-BOC Task Force and enhance measures in the prosecution of cases. Both agencies revisited several policies and circulars to resolve bottlenecks and streamline communications and procedures for case processing.
“As we heighten our intelligence and enforcement measures to thwart smuggling attempts of unscrupulous importers, we also ensure that those found guilty face the maximum lawful consequences they deserve,” says Commissioner Rubio.
The Bureau attributes the success in apprehending illicit goods to its proactive collaboration with partner agencies such as the DOJ, DA, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the National Bureau of Investigation, among others.#