An estimated P11 million worth of smuggled agricultural products were seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Cebu City last October.
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña who showed the five containers which contained the smuggled goods to media on Tuesday, said the persons involved violated sections 117 of Republic Act 10863 or Misdeclaration, Misclassification, Undervaluation in Goods Declaration.
Lapeña said that the consignee declared the goods as apples but there were carrots and potatoes in the cargoes.
“They misdeclared it as apples so that they can escape from duties and taxes that are supposed to go with it,” Lapeña said.
Under the law, Lapeña said that apples have zero tariffs while other agricultural products such as potatoes and carrots have taxes.
Wivina Pumatong, BOC-Cebu’s officer-in-charge (OIC), said that the containers came from China.
She said that they were alerted about the containers when it arrived in Cebu last week of October.
“The cargoes are really intended for this port (Cebu). After we were given a notice by the BPI (Bureau of Plant Industry), we checked the containers,” Pumatong said.
It was then that they discovered that aside from the boxes of apples, as what the importers declared, Pumatong said, that they found out there were bags and boxes of carrots and potatoes.
“They used the apples as camouflage to hide the misdeclared goods,” Pumatong said.
Based on the documents from the BOC-Cebu, consignee of the shipment was WSTAN and Company Inc. which has an address in Manila.
Lapeña said that a subsequent investigation would take place to dig deeper on the case.
He also said that the seizure of the smuggled items were only shown to the media on Tuesday because the warrant of seizure and detention was only released this month.