Philippine efforts to tighten up on vegetable smuggling have paid off, with six traders and customs brokers being charged last week for illegally importing onions.
Charges were laid on Maria Guia Alfonso, owner of Advanced Impex International Trading; Micheal Jovan, owner of Iana Enterprises; and Raymundo Rebozido, owner of Royal Halo Enterprises, and customs brokers Vanessa Ocampo, Steve Semblante and Jason Ferrer, reported ABS-CBN News.
Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon said the three traders had illegally imported a total of 12 containers of Chinese onions, variously declaring them at apples, pastries and plastics and kitchen wares.
The smuggled onions were worth around PHP27.3m (US$628,000), according to the Bureau of Customs.
“We will not allow smugglers of agricultural products to place our local farmers in a very bad situation. We will extend the long arms of the law, wherever it will take us, if only to stop your illegal activities and to place you where you rightfully belong,” said Mr Biazon.
Mr Biazon has pledged to crack down on vegetable smuggling during his tenure at the Bureau.