Smuggled onions seized

October 29, 2010

Jeannette Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
October 29, 2010

SEEMINGLY in keeping with All Saints’ Day, the Bureau of Customs (BoC) has decided it would bury some 60 bags of smuggled onions from China confiscated Friday in a raid on several stalls in Divisoria.

The raid was conducted at the crack of dawn by customs agents, representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry, the Bureau of Plant Industry, Senate committee on agriculture chairman Francis Pangilinan, and Ernie Ordonez of the Alyansa Agrikultura, on small retail stores along Carmen Planas Street in Tondo.

Some 60 bags, weighing 10 kilograms each, of onions from China were confiscated from a dozen stalls in the Divisoria area, based on a visitorial authority issued by Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez.

“After summary proceedings for seizure and detention in our legal division, since these onions are outright smuggled, they would be forfeited and buried as a mode of condemnation,” BoC Deputy Commissioner for the enforcement group Horacio Suansing Jr., who headed the raid, pointed out.

He said the smuggled onions would be brought to the BoC dumpsite in Bulacan and buried.

Admittedly, Suansing said the confiscated onions have little value but pointed out that the raid was intended “to send a strong message to smugglers that even if the smuggled items have already left the premises of the Customs, we would still run after those selling them.”

He pointed out that there was an existing prohibition on the importation of onions in the country since there was a surplus of the agricultural product as confirmed by the agricultural department. The department has issued an order halting the importation of onions until Dec. 31, 2010.

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