Government agents have intercepted in Manila North Harbor a shipment of smuggled red onions from China, Customs officials said Saturday.
Agents of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service assigned at the Manila International Container Port seized the shipment consigned to one Potanion Trading.
“The shipment was originally declared as yellow onions but was later discovered to contain 60 percent red onions estimated to have a value of P3 million,” said Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
On May 26, a warrant of seizure and detention was issued against the shipment for violation of Section 1113 and Section 1401 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Guerrero said large-scale smuggling of agricultural produce was considered as economic sabotage, not to mention its adverse effect to the farmers and producers.
Agricultural produce requires import and phytosanitary permits from the Agriculture Department and its line agencies aside from filing import entries. Without the necessary clearances, the release of shipments is withheld, according to officials.
Local farmers claimed illegal importation of agricultural produce had been a bane to the local industry for years and they had discovered that it also posed a threat to consumers’ health.
MICP officials said the bureau remained vigilant in its drive against unscrupulous traders preying on the country’s ports, especially during this time of coronavirus pandemic.
“There is no let up in our anti-smuggling drive with our alert intelligence personnel,” said MICP-CIIS chief Alvin Enciso.