A total of P31.5 billion worth of smuggled goods have been recorded as the highest-ever seizure of items in history of the  Bureau of Customs (BOC), Customs Director Verne Encoso said recently at a news forum in Quezon City.

“Ang bureau, under the leadership of Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio, has already got the highest seizure, in a terms of smuggling, nag-resulta na po ito sa P31.5 billion na various commodities. Ito po iyong highest ever record po ng Bureau of Customs, considering na hindi pa po tapos ang taon,” Enciso said.

Enciso said the value of confiscated smuggled goods were beyond their regulatory tightening but signified commitment to tackling illicit trade across the country and maintaining fair trade for legitimate business, and in the agriculture sector.

Enciso said the BOC seized a total of P3.3 billion  this year alone of compromised rice and other agricultural products.

Enciso said the BOC continues to inspect warehouses suspected of hoarding and storing smuggled rice pursuant to Executive Order (EO) No. 39.

“The first implemented letters of authority that was conducted in seven warehouses in the vicinity or in the area of Bulacan, four warehouses were issued warrant of seizure and detention resulting in the seizure of 236,571 sacks of rice which originated from Vietnam, Thailand and Pakistan. Three warehouses were released to the claimants with the total of 135,365 rice originating from Vietnam and Thailand,” Enciso said.

Enciso said the BOC also uncovered 36,000 sacks of rice in Tondo, Manila and a total of 20,000 sacks of rice were discovered in the areas of Las Piñas and Bacoor.

Enciso said the claimants had been given a 15-day period to provide proof of payment of taxes and other regulatory duties for the imported rice stored in these facilities.

On September 20, President Ferdinand R. Marcos asked Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri to give priority on the passage of Senate Bill No. 2432 that provides stricter penalties on the crime of agricultural economic sabotage.

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