The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has filed criminal charges against importers of smuggled onions.
“Commissioner Isidro Lapeña filed criminal charges for violation of Sections 1401 and 1402 of Republic Act No. 10863 otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) in relation to Republic Act No. 10845 otherwise known as “Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016”, against Fernando M. Diana, Jr., proprietor of Skyrocket, and his licensed customs broker, Reynaline B. Turrado for unlawfully importing onions which were misdeclared as apples, valued at P1,899,827,” read the official release that was sent to the press.
Criminal charges were also filed against Kasaligan International Marketing Corporation owners Emily F. Maslunga and Virgilio Q. Miranda (president and treasurer of Kasaligan, respectively) and their licensed customs broker Carlos Andrew C. Alindogan for the unlawful importation of onions valued at P881,765 in violation of Sections 1401 and 1402 of the CMTA.
“The cases stemmed from the joint spot checking of 6×40’ reefer containers in Manila International Container Port spearheaded by Lapeña and Secretary Manny Piñol of the Department of Agriculture, wherein the subject containers declared as fresh apples were found to contain fresh onions,” it was disclosed.
Lapeña emphasized that large-scale smuggling of agricultural products is considered as “economic sabotage, not to mention its adverse effect to the farmers and producers of agricultural products.”
He then assured that the BOC will remain steadfast and relentless not only in its effort to collect the much-needed revenue of the government but more importantly continue to curb all sorts of reprehensible smuggling activities.
“More cases will be filed by the Bureau of Customs against importers and brokers involved in the smuggling of onions and other agricultural products. This should serve as a strong warning against unscrupulous individuals. The government is closely monitoring their smuggling activities and the BOC will make sure these smugglers will be prosecuted,” he noted.