Consistent with the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to safeguard the welfare of Filipino farmers and fishers and make locally grown agricultural produce more competitive, the Department of Agriculture (DA) continues with the campaign against agricultural smuggling.
In January alone, a total of P202.5 million (M) worth of agri-fishery products contained in 24 container vans consigned to Asterzenmed Inc. and Seaster Consumer Goods Trading Inc. were seized in separate operations at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
From the 24 vans apprehended, nine belonged to Seaster Consumer Goods, which were found to contain fresh red and white onions with a total estimated market value of P77.8M.
Subsequent operations revealed multi-million smuggled agri-produce by consignee Asterzenmed Inc.
On January 23, 2023, three (3) alerted containers carrying fresh yellow onions, red onions, potatoes and roasted sweet potatoes with an estimated market value of P24.4 M were seized. It was followed by the confiscation of three (3) containers loaded with red onions, imitation crab stick, and frozen boneless beef, with a total estimated market value of P31 M.
Another inspection of three Asterzenmed Inc. containers resulted in the confiscation of P24 M worth of red onions and assorted meat products, while P21.5M worth of smuggled assorted meat products was confiscated from the inspection of three other container vans.
The latest reported operation on January 27, 2023 led to the discovery of two (2) container vans containing potatoes and fresh yellow onions with an estimated value of P23.6 M.
The misdeclared and misclassifed goods were seized through the combined efforts of the DA Inspectorate and Enforcement, together with partner agencies including the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
It was also revealed that the goods, which originated from HongKong, China, have no Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance.