What’s this I heard from the grapevine that some 800 containers or 20,000 metric tons of rice have arrived in the country courtesy of a rice smuggling syndicate?
Fortunately, the Bureau of Customs intercepted 167 containers of the said number at the Port of Davao a few weeks ago. However, the BOC have not seized the shipment yet since a case was filed by the owner of the smuggled rice before the local court citing the customs move was illegal and directly violates the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement.
But newly-appointed BOC Commissioner Sunny Sevilla said the shipment was illegal because it has no import permit from the agriculture department, which says that there is a pending request by the Philippines to WTO for an extension of import restrictions.
A highly reliable source within the rice industry says the intercepted containers is just part of the 300 containers of rice smuggled at the Port of Davao this November.
The same source said that 500 more containers of rice were sneaked into the country through the Ports of Cebu and Manila by a company only known as “Starcrop” with the help of a scrupulous broker who is only known as alias “Santos” or “Bros” also last month.
The said broker is allegedly known at the piers as the one who handles all smuggled rice entries in the country and is notorious in making fictitious reports against other brokers to BOC operatives of alleged smuggling activities to divert the authorities attention on him.
“Starcrop” is allegedly owned by two popular Chinoy brothers but being run by a cetain “Dave Tan,” who reportedly have connections in the legislative and judiciary departments.
The said brothers have been in the rice smuggling for several years now with their trusted lieutenant, alias “Dave Tan,” but have never been caught since they reportedly use fictitious or bogus consignees in the bill of lading.
I trust BOC Intelligence Chief Dep. Com. Jessie Dellosa to be able to put an end to the happy days of “Starcrop” and alias “Santos” or “Bros” at the ports soon.
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No take policyFor depcom dellosa?
After appearing in this column last month about Customs Deputy Commissioner Jessie Dellosa’s unwarranted inspections of incoming cargoes at the south harbor, causing delays and thousands of pesos in expenses for brokers and importers, adjustments has been made by the former military general since then.
Sources within the bureau confirmed that Dellosa and his men, though still implement tougher and stricter measures to avoid smuggling, have eased up on unnecessary alerts and inspections.
Likewise, reports within the bureau these days indicate that Dellosa strictly observes a “no take policy” for himself and his people.
Unlike his predecessors, Dellosa, according to insiders, has refused to accept bribes from importers and brokers since assuming office in November.
As one BOC employee said Dellosa continues to stay aloof from brokers and importers to avoid being indebted to them.
For this reason, the deputy commissioner of customs has earned the respect of BOC employees and businessmen alike.
Keep it up, general.