BOC files smuggling charges vs 2 firms for Thai sugar smuggling
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs has intensified further its campaign against the smuggling of Thai sugar – using China and Hong Kong as transshipment points – which has resulted in revenue losses to the government.
This was disclosed to the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Thursday by Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina shortly after he led the filing of smuggling charges before the Department of Justice against two trading firms for the illegal importation of the commodity.
But Lina was quick to add the Department of Finance-attached agency’s anti-smuggling drive has been a “work in progress.”
“We’re committed to protect the local sugar industry,” he said.
The BOC head identified the erring companies as Rainbow Holdings, Inc. (RHI) and Trisho General Merchandise (TGM), which have offices at Alpap II Building, Madrigal Business Park, Ayala-Alabang, and 445 National Highway, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, respectively.
Listed as case respondents were the following officers of the firms: Eunk Young Son, president and chief executive officer; Sopon Seung Joon, senior adviser; Rolando Ambrosio, corporate financial officer, and Kathleen May Uy, corporate secretary, all from RHI; and TGM owner Patricia Manahan Ong and customs broker Cleth Jay Bacay.
RHI and TGM officers were charged for alleged violation of Section 3601 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code, and rules and regulations of the Sugar Regulatory Administration.
Section 3601 of the TCCP covers the illegal importation of, among others, commodities like sugar.
Customs records showed that 21 forty-foot shipping containers consigned to RHI arrived between July 29 and August 21this year at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).
The shipments were “declared as bitumen (an oil substance used in asphalting roads and roofing), but found to contain refined sugar.”
On the other hand, one 40-foot shipping container, consigned to TGM, arrived at the MICP on May 15. The shipment was also declared as bitumen.
When interviewed, Lina said the filing of smuggling charges against the two firms was “proof of the BOC’s commitment to protect the country’s our sugar industry.”
He vowed to “intensify further the bureau’s campaign against the illegal importation of sugar in all ports nationwide.”
Customs personnel, including the bureau’s Intelligence and Investigation Service, have been “working closely with our partner non-government groups like the Sugar Alliance of the Philippines in this campaign,” he added. SFM
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