Authorities suspect P22-M worth of sugar supplies were being hoarded to manipulate sugar prices
(Eagle News) – The Bureau of Customs found and seized some 44,000 sacks of imported sugar worth some P22 million in separate “raids” in warehouses in Pampanga and Bulacan on Thursday, August 18, 2022, suspected of being hoarded by traders to create a supply shortage.
“The raids were in accordance with the marching orders of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to exercise visitorial powers to all customs bonded warehouse and to check on the inventory of imported agricultural products,” said a BOC release.
The BOC – Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) and Enforcement and Security Service of the Port of Clark (Customs District No. XIV) and Port of Manila (Customs District No. II-A), along with some members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, swooped down on the New San Fernando Public Market in San Fernando, Pampanga and in another warehouse along Kaypian Rd., in Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
The operations stemmed from coordination of CIIS with the military intelligence, the BOC said.
The authorities had a Letter of Authority (LOA) and Mission Order (MO) issued by the Acting Commissioner of Customs, to conduct the inspection of the warehouses.
Malacanang confirmed the inspection of the warehouses suspected to be hoarding sugar supplies in a press briefing.
-“Exercise of visitorial powers”-
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles described the activity as an “exercise of visitorial powers,”
“Kaninang umaga, nagsagawa ng raid—well, hindi po siya raid, I apologize, nagsagawa ng exercise of visitorial powers ang ating Bureau of Customs tungo sa orders ni Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez tungo rin sa direktiba ng ating Pangulo na i-check ang mga warehouses para sa mga smuggled or hoarded na asukal,” Angeles said.
“Kanina, mayroon silang na-padlock sa San Fernando, Pampanga on the suspicion or dahil may intel na na-receive ang BOC na ito ay possibly smuggled or suspected smuggled na asukal,” she said.
Angeles said that inspection was conducted around 10 a.m. Representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Sugar Regulatory Administration were also present to verify and check if these sugar supplies were being hoarded to manipulate prices, the Palace said.
A certain Victor Teng Chua, the alleged owner of the warehouse in Bulacan, was invited to San Jose del Monte Police Station for questioning due to lack of permit from the Sugar Regulatory Admnistration (SRA).
Authorities would be verifying if the owner of the warehouse was involved in “large scale hoarding.”
Acting Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz said the public that the BOC would remain relentless in conducting operations against smuggling and protecting legitimate trade.
Ruiz said that failure to present import documents and proof of payment of duties and taxes on the seized articles would cause the issuance of a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD).
The inspection on warehouses was conducted by joint operatives from the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), and Department of Agriculture (DA).
(Eagle News Service)