THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) is looking to donate to the victims of recent calamities the 12 forty-footer containers of imported rice from China with an estimated value of P20 million.
According to Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon, they will coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to determine where to distribute the apprehended rice shipment.
“Siguro may mga government agencies tayo na kailangan ng bigas. Under the law, we can donate through DSWD. Sila na mag-determine what office will use that. There’s so many calamities in the past, [so] we can use these for calamity victims and other purposes,” he said during an interview at the Port of Manila (POM) on Tuesday.
But the BOC chief noted that the rice will still undergo testing to determine if they are safe for human consumption.
“We will have it tested, but definitely it’s really rice,” he added.
The shipment, which was initially declared to contain leatherette, arrived at the said port on August 20. It was alerted by the BOC Command Center on October 4.
“Leatherette siya na 12 containers. Pag ganyan, masyadong mataas. Do we have a demand for that big volume of leatherette? Kapag sa tingin mo wala tayong demand, iaalert then check mo,” he said.
The inspection revealed that all containers carry thousands of sacks of rice, but none with the declared material. The shipment was consigned to RPR International Trading.
“Nung nalaman nilang si-nieze namin at inalert namin, inabandon agad [ang shipment],” said Faeldon, adding that this is the first time an importer attempted to smuggle rice of this value into the country via the POM.
With this, he has ordered the suspension of the consignee’s accreditation as importer.
“We will suspend their accreditation,” Faeldon added.