CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines—Customs authorities, led by Deputy Commissioner Danilo Lim, on Monday seized 5,000 bags of rice worth P9 million at the Mindanao Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, that Lim said were smuggled in from Vietnam.
The shipment was kept in 10 20-foot container vans that were stored at the MCT since July last year and consigned to Bubog Farmers Cooperative.
The shipment, said Lim, was not covered by any documents or permits from the National Food Authority (NFA).
Lim said the importer has been required to present valid import documents from the NFA because it brought in the rice under the private sector-financed importation scheme through the NFA tax expenditure subsidy.
He said when the cooperative repeatedly failed to present the documents, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) sought NFA comment on the importation.
Lim said the NFA replied that it cannot authenticate the documents the importer had presented because “the documents subject of your query could not be found in our records.”
It was at this point that the BOC decided to seize the shipment and declare it illegal, said Lim.