4 importers face DA blacklist

0
142
4 importers face DA blacklist
  • For their involvement in smuggling activities, four agricultural products importers will be blacklisted
  • The importers were identified as ‘one for rice, two for fisheries, and one for sugar’
  • The blacklisting will take effect in the coming months, the Agriculture chief said

Four importers will be blacklisted for their involvement in smuggling activities, according to Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel.

During a press conference this week, Tiu Laurel identified the importers as “one for rice, two for fisheries, and one for sugar.”

The blacklisting will take effect in the coming months, the Agriculture chief said.

He said that while “the evidence is not enough,” to convict them if charged, blocking any dealing by the four with his department “is the easiest way.”

Other importers will also be blacklisted “in a few months,” said Tiu Laurel, adding, “Even if they are my friends.”

The Agriculture department is presently gathering evidence against unscrupulous companies, he also said.

One of the companies already in the department’s blacklist was found to be involved in underdeclaration.

It had taken advantage of a loophole in the Bureau of Plant Industry system, said Tiu Laurel. The importer only declared under its name 20% of the actual volume of rice it brought in at the port of Batangas, so the Agriculture department assumed the rest would be unloaded elsewhere.

The importer was able to present a sanitary and phytosanitary import clearance. Thus, “we could not stop them from unloading, but they have to pay the 100 percent tax.”

Under the Department of Agriculture‘s new regulation, importers need to declare the volume of their entire shipment.

Tiu Laurel said another importer had tried to bribe him after some 20 container vans of meat were confiscated and ordered burned at the condemnation facility.

The importer had tried to bribe him with P250,000 per container, said Tiu Laurel. The amount was later raised to P1 million. He said he rejected the offer and ordered the burning of the meat, which had been caught by the Bureau of Customs.

The Agriculture chief said smugglers often declare their shipments as processed products, but would hide farm products like chicken and Peking duck at the back of the container vans.

Since processed goods are not under the DA but the Food and Drug Administration, Tiu Laurel said he will ask FDA director general Samuel Zacate to deputize his department to act as enforcer.

“If that happens, we will further solve smuggling,” said Tiu Laurel.

READ: Marcos orders pre-border verification, e-invoicing for all imports