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May 2024

Over 200,000 sacks of hoarded rice seized in Bulacan

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has recovered over 200,000 sacks of rice in four different warehouses in Bulacan, prompting the issuance of warrants of seizure and detention.

The BOC had already informed the Office of the President that a total of 236,571 sacks of rice were found in four warehouses in Bulacan as of September 29, which prompted the agency to issue the necessary warrants.

The BOC said that, as of September 29, it issued letters of authority (LOA) to warehouses in Cavite and in Las Piñas City, and two warehouses in Manila that they were awaiting the submission of necessary documents from the two warehouse owners in Cavite and Las Piñas City

The BOC said that  an “inventory is ongoing for the other two warehouses” in Manila.

Last Friday,  the Bureau of Customs Bureau Action Team Against Smuggling (BATAS) filed four smuggling charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against rice smugglers in Bulacan while a case build-up is being conducted for the filing of charges against the reported smugglers in Zamboanga City.

Lawyer William Balayo, the acting Director of BOC’s Legal Service, said over the weekend that they filed three charges of economic sabotage against three importers while one was for the violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) under Agricultural Product Smuggling.

The charges stemmed from the inspection they conducted in Bulacan last August 24.

The BOC also seized over 42,000 sacks of smuggled rice in Zamboanga City that were eventually donated to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) after the importers failed to present documents to defend the legality of their importation.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr ordered to donate the confiscated rice were to the beneficiaries of DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) that Marcos distributed himself in Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay; San Roque, Zamboanga City; General Trias City, Cavite; Iriga City, Camarines Sur; San Andres, Manila; Dapa, Surigao del Norte; and Dinagat Islands.

Marcos had issued marching orders to the BOC to continue to go against smugglers and hoarders who were behind the price manipulation schemes that had driven up the price of rice.

“Ang bukbok na lubos na sumisira sa balanse ng suplay at presyo ng bigas sa merkado [ay] ang hoarding at saka ang smuggling, at price manipulation na ginagawa ng mapagsamantalang mga negosyante,” Marcos said. QR Code

Published Date: October 1, 2023

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