BOC files criminal raps over illegal sugar imports


THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) has filed three criminal complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against alleged sugar importers.

The first criminal complaint is against an importer and a customs broker for illegally importing 13 containers of refined sugar at the Manila International Container Port.

The other two criminal complaints were filed against another importer and their customs broker because of the alleged illegal importation of 58 containers of refined sugar at the Port of Subic.

The respondents are facing numerous counts of violation of Section 1401 in relation to Sections 1400 and 117 of the CMTA, SRA-BOC Joint Memorandum 4-2002, and Sections 3 and 4 of

the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.

For the first three months this year, the customs bureau has already filed 45 agri-related criminal complaints against importers and customs brokers involved in alleged smuggling and customs fraud.

“Our continuous filing of criminal complaints against perpetrators of illegal importation manifests our commitment to end smuggling,” BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said.

“We will continue to strengthen our border control measures and file cases against violators of Customs laws to ensure compliance among stakeholders,” he added.

Moreover, Malacañang has approved a recommendation to sell confiscated smuggled sugar at P70 per kilo in Kadiwa stores.

Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) board member and planters’ representative Pablo Luis Azcona recently said a total of 12,000 metric tons (MT) of smuggled sweetener can now be sold at Kadiwa outlets.

“At least 8,000 tons of sugar were confiscated in Batangas and recently at least P85 million worth or roughly 4,000 tons of sugar were seized in Subic. Good thing, we got a memo from Malacañang that the apprehended sugar will be donated to the DA [Department of Agriculture] for sale to the public by Kadiwa,” Azcona said.

“Kadiwa has always sold sugar at P70 per kilo, so it will remain at P70 per kilo,” Azcona said, adding that the government targets to bring down the retail price of sugar with the release of imported sweetener in the local market.

SRA administrator David Alba, earlier asked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to approve the sale of the confiscated smuggled sugar at Kadiwa stores amid the spike in retail prices of the commodity.