Smuggling task force on the lookout

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Monday, July 14, 2014

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Imported yellow bell peppers seem to be flooding the market and not carrots as reported earlier.

"There were no smuggled carrots in the stalls and sidewalks carts during the monitoring in Divisoria Market and Balintawak Market for the past months until now, what were displayed in the stalls are imported yellow bell peppers," Simya Lagos, in charge for monitoring anti smuggling activities in a report to the province, said.

Simya added no smuggling activities from the ports of Manila and the Manila International Container Ports based on the latest report, adding "no monitored smuggling of carrots during an inspection in cold storage facilities."


The province is in close coordination with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to monitor vegetables as well as to safeguard the interest of highland farmers.

The BOC is tasked to pursue legal measures against the persons responsible for these attempts and for violating the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP).

In 2013, the BOC seized three 40-footer container vans of illegally imported fresh potatoes and carrots worth P7.5 million from China.

Simya said there are changes being implemented in the BOC with accreditation of importers now being headed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

"The accreditation process has been turned over to the BIR to make the process more stringent so companies without proper financial reports to support their company cannot be accredited," added Simya.

In the past, Visayas ports have been monitored and secured for the entry of produce from nearby China, which floods markets with cheaply priced goods, killing income of highland producers.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 15, 2014.

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