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Probe ongoing on alleged PHP1-B smuggled rice in iloilo-BOC

August 19, 2022 - Friday 5:08 PM by Angelo Espino

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The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday said a probe on the reported PHP1 billion smuggled rice unloaded in Iloilo City is currently being conducted.

According to Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz, the Bureau coordinates with other government agencies and stakeholders involved in the shipment.

"An investigation on the four alleged smuggled rice shipments that arrived on board 20 vessels at the Port of Iloilo is ongoing. We are still awaiting the official report on the matter from the Port of Iloilo," he said in a statement.

"Coordination has been made with various public and private organizations involved in the inspection of shipments, such as the Bureau of Plant Industry of the Department of Agriculture; Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS), the world's leading inspection, verification, testing, and certification company; and the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement/ASEAN Industrial Cooperation Scheme," the BOC chief added.

Ruiz also assured the public that they would announce the outcome of the investigation.

On the other hand, the Collection District VI of the Bureau has denied "these unfounded allegations which intend to malign the good image of the BOC- Port of Iloilo considering that no history of rice smuggling has been recorded at this Port."

In a statement, it said the alleged smuggled rice shipments on board MV Hai Ha 58, MV HOA BINH 54, and MV Hai Dang 168 were covered with clearances and permits issued by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry in compliance with Republic Act No. 11203 or An Act Liberalizing the Importation, Exportation and Trading of Rice, Lifting for the Purpose the Quantitative Import Restriction on Rice, and For Other Purposes.

"The imported rice on board the aforementioned vessels have a total computed Customs duties, taxes, and other charges amounting to PHP83,322,586.68, which greatly contributes to the August 2022 revenue collection of this Port," the statement added.

As for the MV Royal 18, which arrived at the Port of Iloilo last August 14, 2022, it noted that the Goods Declaration of the rice shipment loaded on board the vessel has been lodged at the Customs e2m System while the vessel is currently at the anchorage area of the Port awaiting for berthing space.

Meanwhile, the Port reported that from January to July 2022, it imported 152,000 Metric Tons of rice, generating a total revenue amounting to PHP901,875,170.20, which is 32% of its total revenue for the said period.

"The Collection District VI already exceeded its annual collection target for 2022 as of August 16. Initial data shows that the Port collected a total revenue of PHP3,214,439,058.34, surpassing the 2022 collection target of PHP3,187,480,000.00 by PHP26,959,058.34 or 0.85%,” it added.



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