BOC Port of Limay foils large scale smuggling of rice, arrests 18 smugglers

The Bureau of Customs Port of Limay in Bataan, apprehends 2,025 Metric Tons of White Vietnamese Rice at the Orion Dockyard, Orion, Bataan, and arrests 18 crews of the ship MV SF OMEGA caught illegally transporting it.

On December 21, 2023, the ship MV SF OMEGA attempted to unload  a total of 2,025 Metric Tons of White Rice worth Php 100 Million. The ship captain claimed that the rice came from Cebu and the duties and taxes were already paid. 

Upon verification by Bataan Customs Officers, the documents presented are in conflict with each other, specifically the Bureau of Plant Industry Clearance to Transport Plant Products only allows transportation of 1,700 kilograms of rice versus the 2,025 Metric Tons actually transported. Moreover, the proof of payment of customs duties show only 1,850 Metric Tons. Lastly, there is no proof shown that the cargo loaded onto MV SF OMEGA was cleared and released by Bureau of Customs – Cebu.

An examination by officers of Bataan Customs revealed that the rice loaded onto MV SF OMEGA are different from the rice legally imported at the Port of Cebu. Upon evaluation of the evidence, Atty. Sajid Jacalne, Acting Chief, Law Division of the Port of Limay, signed the Warrant of Seizure and Detention on December 24, 2023, after consultation with and authority given by District Collector Atty William Balayo who was on leave at the time. The crew of the ship caught smuggling the rice were arrested on December 25, 2023 for violation of Large Scale Smuggling of Agricultural Products, punishable with life imprisonment.

The seizure and arrest is part of the anti-smuggling drive led by Bureau of Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio. It will be recalled that just a few days ago, the NBI-BOC Team was able to foil an attempt to commit fuel smuggling, also in Bataan.

For this news report, none of the officers of the Port of Limay agreed to be interviewed for lack of authority to do so. However, their actions more than words clearly show a firm commitment to stop smuggling in any form and demonstrate their dedication to the anti-smuggling campaign of Commissioner Bienvenido Y. Rubio.

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