Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

DA, BOC, DTI, partner agencies seize over P650-M worth of smuggled food items 

Author: DA Press Office | 23 February 2022

The Department of Agriculture (DA) — in tandem with the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and other member-agencies of the Sub-Task Group on Economic Intelligence (STG EI) and Compliance and Regulatory Enforcement for Security and Trade Office (CREST-O) — has confiscated more than P650-million (M) worth of imported farm and fishery products that were misdeclared, overvalued, and entered illegally, from April 2021 to February 2022.

“We are relentless in our joint efforts to confiscate all illegal imported farm, fishery, and food products to protect not only our farmers and fisherfolk, but also our agri-fishery sector from transboundary diseases, and our countrymen from unsafe and unhygienic food items,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

“We commend the men and women of the DA, BOC, DTI, and the composite teams of STG EI and CREST-O for their continued intelligence gathering and vigilance to prevent smuggling and apprehend offenders,” he added.

In a report to Secretary Dar, DA Assistant Secretary Federico Laciste, Jr. said of the total confiscated items, those apprehended by the STG EI, from April to November 2021, amounted to P548.56 M, while P109-M worth was confiscated from January to February 2022, as a result of the joint operations of the STG EI and CREST-O teams. Laciste heads the DA-Wide Field Inspectorate and Bantay Presyo Task Force.

The confiscated goods in 2021 consisted of:

  • P121.3-M worth of undervalued imported rice shipped in Cebu, Cagayan de Oro (CDO) and Iloilo, on April 5, 2021;
  • P101.5 M – red onions, in Subic, July 8, 12, and 19, 2021;
  • P100 M – ASF-infected meat and assorted agri-fishery products, in Navotas, on May 27, 2021;
  • P72 M – assorted vegetables and red onions at CDO Port, November 19, 2021;
  • P70 M – assorted vegetables in Subic, November 18, 2021.
  • P50 M – red onions at CDO Port, November 8 and 9, 2021;
  • P15 M – assorted vegetables, in Subic, October 13 and 14, 2021;
  • P10 M – agri-fishery products in Calumpit, Bulacan, on September 1, 2021;
  • P4.7 M – assorted vegetables, Malabon City; and
  • 1,874 sacks of sugar, in Navotas, April 18 and 19, 2021.

In January and February this year, Laciste said the confiscated shipments, totaling P109 M, included:

  • P46-M worth of smuggled agri-fishery, frozen meat, and products from China,  on Feb. 8, 9, and 15, 2022;
  • P42 M – misdeclared fishery products from Vietnam, at a cold storage in Meycauayan, Bulacan, Jan. 31, 2022;
  • P 11 M – misdeclared frozen meat, in Antipolo and Quezon City, Feb. 8 and 9, 2022; and
  • P10 M – smuggled fresh vegetables, at Manila Int’l. Container Terminal, Jan. 21, 2022. ### (Dale Russeth Gabanes, DA StratComms)
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