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HomeCustoms & TradeP15M veggies from China confiscated in Subic

P15M veggies from China confiscated in Subic

  • Some P15 million worth of fresh vegetables illegally shipped from China were confiscated in Subic port
  • The vegetables were found inside five 40-footer container vans
  • They were misdeclared as frozen assorted vegetables
  • Manila-based importer Saturnus Corp.’s permit is limited to the importation of frozen vegetables

Some P15 million worth of fresh vegetables illegally shipped from China were confiscated by government agencies in Subic port on October 14.

The fresh vegetables were found inside five 40-footer container vans that were declared to contain frozen assorted vegetables and consigned to Saturnus Corp., an importer based in Metro Manila.

The shipment was initially flagged on October 13 for non-compliance with the approved sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance on temperature requirement and for the entry of non-importable fresh vegetables.

“We found out that the shipment contained chilled fresh vegetables that are considered illegal for importation into the country. These included various fresh produce such as water bamboo, mushrooms, broccoli, and other vegetables,” Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma said in a statement.

The shipment was also found to contain undeclared agricultural products like sweet oats, she added.

Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Subic district collector Maritess Martin said her office has issued warrants of seizure and detention for the shipment, stressing Saturnus was only given a permit to import frozen vegetables.

She explained frozen commodities should be kept at a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius, but that the refrigerated containers in the Saturnus shipment were at -1 degrees Celsius.

“Thus, the issued SPS importation clearance is not applicable in the instant importation,” Martin added.

The shipment violated Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Administrative Order No. 18, series of 2000, and Section 19 of DA Department Circular 4, series of 2016, in relation to Section 1113 (f) of Republic Act No. 10863 otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), according to DA assistant secretary for economic intelligence Federico Laciste Jr., who is also co-chair of the Economic Intelligence Sub-Task Group on Food Security.

SBMA senior deputy administrator for operations Ronnie Yambao said the inter-agency team thoroughly searched the shipment, including for any illegal drug or substance, after initially finding violations.

He said the concerned agencies conducted a 10% physical examination of the shipment in the presence of the broker’s representative and personnel from BOC and SBMA.

The DA and BOC earlier forged an agreement to implement new measures to curtail the entry of smuggled agricultural commodities and ensure an optimum level of food safety.

Last June, DA and SBMA agreed in principle to establish the country’s first commodity examination facility for agriculture at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales.


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