February 24, 2024

Marcos orders Customs to continue warehouse raids vs rice hoarders

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has ordered the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to continue its warehouse raids to quell hoarders and illegal importers of rice.

In a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said that the BOC is doubling their efforts to hunt down illegal importers of agricultural goods by validating all warehouses, particularly on imported rice.

“As per the directive of the President, ang gagawin po natin is we will validate all warehouses that are storing imported rice and then upon validation we will issue letters of authority to conduct inspection on these warehouses,” Rubio said.

He also gave updates on the agency’s efforts, where he reiterated the recent surprise inspection in rice warehouses in Bulacan.

“In a recent service of a letter of authority, we served three letters of authority against three warehouses reportedly utilized in storing imported rice located at the Intercity Industrial Complex San Juan Balagtas Bulacan,” Rubio said.

The three warehouses that were subjected to the inspection were Great Harvest Rice Mill Warehouse, located at Intercity Industrial Complex; San Pedro Warehouse Intercity Industrial Complex; and, FS Rice Mill Warehouse.

The sacks of rice respectively found in the said warehouses were imported from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand with an initial estimated aggregate value of 505 million pesos, according to Rubio.

Owners and operators of the said warehouses were barred from retrieving the goods unless they can present required documents on their rice importation. They were given until Sept. 8, 2023 to prove they paid the necessary duties for the goods.

“The subject warehouses were sealed temporarily to secure the imported sacks of rice found therein, pending the completion of the inventory by the assigned examiners which will continue on today August 29,” he said.

“The owners and operators of the warehouses were directed to submit proof of payment of duties and taxes due the subject imported sacks of rice within 15 days from the implementation of the LOA or until September 8, 2023,” he added.

Rubio assured that cases will be filed against perpetrators, if proven that the owners and operators of the said warehouses are at fault.

He also mentioned that the ongoing collaboration of BOC with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the filing charges against smugglers who have been apprehended.

“Doon po sa mga nakasuhan, tuloy-tuloy naman po kaming nagfa-file ng kaso and now we are in close collaboration, coordination with DOJ para mapabilis ‘yung pagsampa ng kaso at pag-file ng charges against the smugglers po na nahuli natin, na-identify natin,” he said.