By Vito Barcelo
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized smuggled red onions worth P18.6 million in Brgy. Ayala, Zamboanga City.
The BOC intercepted 5,611 mesh bags of imported red onions with an estimated market value of P8.5 million and 2,249 mesh bags of imported white onions valued at P10.1 million during a maritime patrol operation.
In a press statement, the contrabands were loaded in a sea vessel “MV Princess Nurdisza,” which came from Taganak, Tawi-Tawi bound for Brgy. Baliwasan in Zamboanga City.
The onions were ordered seized after its crew failed to provide a Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance from the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Bureau of Plant Industry for the goods in violation of Section 1401 of Republic Act (R.A.) 10863, known as the “Customs Modernization and Tariff Act of 2016”, concerning R.A. 10845 or the “Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.”
The onions were transported to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Research Center in Barangay Talisayan, Zamboanga City, for safekeeping.
District Collector Segundo Sigmundfreud Z. Barte, Jr. reported that this apprehension is the third successful seizure of imported onions this week, after the January 22 and 23 operations.
Sen. Imee Marcos meanwhile said she was distraught on hearing smuggling of agricultural products, citing the hardship of local farmers.
“For them, we must push these investigations, without fear or favor, until the truth, the whole truth, is out. No more postponements,” Marcos said.
Marcos was sought for comment on a supposed congressional hearing set on Tuesday which was deferred.
“So, that finally, after years of evasion and bribery, smugglers and other criminals guilty of large-scale agricultural sabotage, shall be clapped in jail for life,” she emphasized.
According to Marcos, it’s clear there was manipulation In the artificial shortages and price surges. She stressed that agricultural output and consumption are the same as well as the continuing importation. With Macon Ramos-Araneta