Thousands of bags of suspected smuggled rice worth reportedly around P20 million were seized in a raid by intelligence agents of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) recently in Taytay, Rizal.
The estimated 8,000 bags of rice were uncovered in a warehouse at Cresda Ville Subdivision, Barangay San Juan, Taytay, Rizal Thursday.
Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) Director Neil L. Estrella disclosed that the warehouse owner was identified as a certain Bernadette Ang.
However, further investigation to determine where the rice came from is underway.
“We are currently tracing the point of origin of the seized rice since Ms. Ang has not presented import documents that will justify the legality of the importation into the country,” Estrella said.
Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said the suspect may face charges of economics sabotage.
Faeldon said agricultural smuggling, especially rice worth P1 million, would cause BOC to file economic sabotage as provided under Republic Act 10845.
“We are tightly looking into this case as one of incidents that economic sabotage charges will be filed at the Department of Justice should evidences warrant,” Faeldon said.
Faeldon further noted that the raid was in unison with the heightened efforts to stop all forms of agricultural smuggling as provided in Republic Act 10845 [or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016] and in full compliance with the policy of Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Inter-Agency Task Force.
The task force is composed of BOC, National Food Authority, Department of Agriculture, and Office of the Cabinet Secretary under the Office of the President.
The warehouse where the alleged smuggled rice were stored is now under the watch of BOC agents.
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