Smugglers warned as P83M hot rice seized in Cebu port

By Nestle L. Semilla |December 11,2017 - 10:49 PM

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña (third from left) leads the inspection of the confiscated smuggled rice from China at the Cebu Port. With him are Customs District Collector Wivina Pumatong and Deputy Commissioner Ricardo Quinto.
CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA

Think twice before smuggling goods in Cebu, and better still, just make your shipments legal and legitimate.

This was the warning of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña to businessmen who planned to smuggle more goods using the Cebu port as their destination.

Lapeña gave this warning after the Bureau of Customs Cebu port officials confiscated smuggled rice worth P83.3 million in most of the 71 shipping containers from China.

“Hindi nila puwedeng gawin ang port of Cebu as their illegal destination if ever mag-decide sila na mag-ship illegaly ng items (They cannot make Cebu port as their illegal destination if ever they will decide to ship items illegally here),” Lapeña said.

He said he would go after these smugglers and would stop their smuggling business.

Lapeña was in Cebu yesterday (Monday) to lead the opening of the 71 containers at the Cebu port.

The sacks of hot rice, which were misdeclared as tiles, were inside most of the shipping containers.

Lapeña said that they received a report about these containers with misdeclared goods last December 7.

Customs officials also showed to the media 18 of the 71 containers which contained sacks of premium-quality rice while the four other containers carried ceramic tiles.

Consignees

Wivina Pumatong, officer in charge (OIC) of Customs Cebu, said that they scanned 21 of the 71 containers using X-ray machines and found that the containers had different goods inside.

Pumatong also said that they would investigate why the consignees, who are based in Manila, tried to unload their goods in Cebu.

The consignees of the cargoes are Seven Myth Marketing from Ermita, Manila, and Rainbow Horizons Enterprise in Binondo, Manila.

Customs officials already identified the broker of the shipment as Mary Faith Miro from Tulic in Argao town in southern Cebu.

Pumatong said that those who wanted to smuggle goods would usually use tiles, which had zero duties since it came from China, a rule implemented by Asean member countries.

“Tiles have zero duties. They only have a 12 percent VAT (value added tax). Unlike in rice, it has 40 percent of cost insurance and freight (CIF),” Pumatong said.

In November, Customs officials in Cebu also found and confiscated smuggled potatoes and carrots also declared as tiles in five containers.

The confiscated hot goods had an estimated worth of P11 million.

Pumatong said that the carrots and potatoes were auctioned.

She also said that they were still locating the consignees of those smuggled goods, a company based in Manila, and they still could not locate where their company was.

As for the confiscated rice, Lapeña said that these would be donated to Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and to Marawi City.

Lapeña said that these would not be auctioned because there would be a chance that the rice might get spoiled.

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