BATANGAS: Bureau of Customs personnel on Wednesday confiscated two 40-feet container vans loaded with imported garlic at the port here.
Batangas District Collector Ernesto Benitez said the vans contained an estimated 50-60,000 kilos of garlic from Taiwan consigned to Good Earth Merchandise based in Cagayan de Oro.
Benitez said the contraband was named under broker Antonio Enriquez of Guiginto, Bulacan.
“We back-checked the address of the consignee in Cagayan de Oro but there was no registered Good Earth Merchandise in the area, thus, we can consider this as technical smuggling” Benitez said.
Benitez said the consignee declared the importation as 50 thousand kilos of cocoa beans intended in making chocolate drinks.
Benitez said they requested security augmentation from the Philippine Air Force after they gathered intelligence report that a group is planning to retrieve the cargo from the port by force.
“ It’s just a precautionary measure. May nakuha kasi kaming info na may mga taong nagtatanong sa loob ng port kung papaano daw nila makukuha ang kargamento [We received an information that there are people asking inside the port how to get the cargo],” Benitez said.
Benitez said the cargo arrived in Batangas on June 1 but they waited for the broker to enter the declarations and determine the authenticity of the importation.
Subsequently, Benitez said they requested an alert order from the office of Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Jessie Dellosa for a cargo inspection.
“Bago namin buksan ang kargamento sinubukan naming kontakin ang consignee at ang broker pero hindi sila sumasagot kaya binuk–san na namin [Before we open the cargo, we try to contact the consignee and the broker but they do not reply so we opened it],” Benitez added.
Customs is yet to conduct a 100 percent inspection to determine the whole content of the cargo.
“Titingnan pa natin kung ano ang laman ng buong container van, we’re just assuming na lahat ay garlic kaya na-estimate namin na 50 to 60 thousand kilos ang weight nyan [We will look what inside the whole container van, we’re just assuming it’s garlic so we estimated the weight around 50-60,000 kilos],” Benitez explained.
Benitez said a warrant of seizure and detention have yet to be issued by the Batangas customs collector for forfeiture of the contraband in favour of the government.
The seizure was made in the midst of reports on the increasing prices of the garlic in the market .