By JENNY F. MANONGDO
The Bureau of Customs (BoC) filed yesterday charges against a suspected smuggler at the Department of Justice (DoJ).
An official statement from the BoC said it has filed charges against a Cebu-based trader for attempting to smuggle 96 units of 20-footer container vans of rice from Vietnam amounting to P63,897,600.
BoC Commissioner Rufino Biazon said the accused, Gemma Aida T. Belarma, owner of Melma enterprises is the consignee of the hot rice from Vietnam that violated section 3601 in relation to the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines.
The suspected smuggler allegedly tried to slip the rice illegally from Vietnam through the port of Cebu and misdeclared it as granite slabs, granite tiles, stone slabs, and wall insulators.
Biazon stressed that under the law, all rice importations must have permit from the National Food Authority (NFA).
“I am warning all traders and importers who are into the illicit trade, especially those involved in the smuggling of agricultural products to cease from their illegal activities. Don’ t take chances with the Bureau of Customs ad we will get you in time,” Biazon said.
Biazon said he has ordered strict operations against smuggling attempts on food items in the coming Christmas season.
The BoC has filed a total of 104 smuggling charges since Biazon came into office. Yesterday’s case is also the 147th case fueled against suspected smugglers since the term of President Benign Aquino IIII began.
The BoC files charges against suspected smugglers every other Thursday.