Smuggled onions from China seized

September 22, 2010

Niko Banua
September 22, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Around P10 million worth of smuggled onions were seized on Wednesday by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the South Harbor in Manila.

Eight containers filled with onions arrived in the country earlier this month, Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said.

The shipment’s consignee, Blueharbor Inc., declared the goods as microphone and electronic accessories from China, he added.

The authorities became suspicious when the scent of onions started coming from the shipment.

The BOC later issued a seizure order, which was implemented and witnessed by Alvarez, Senate Committee on Agriculture chair Francis Pangilinan, and Alyansa Agrikultura head Ernie Ordoñez.

Had the shipment not been intercepted, the smuggled onions could have been dumped in the local market, according to the Customs chief.

Alvarez has ordered an investigation into BOC employees who allegedly almost let 4 of the 8 containers through. A concerned citizen reportedly tipped off authorities about the smuggling attempt.

Charges are also being prepared against the owner of Blueharbor, a certain HS Berloiz.

“Smuggled produce strike a serious blow to our farmers’ livelihood. When these flood the market, our farmers earn less than they should,” Pangilinan said in a press statement.

“According to reports, the government loses P120 billion in annual revenue due to smuggling. We need to make examples of these smugglers and convict them so that these unscrupulous traders will be discouraged in the future,” he added.

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