P34M worth of seized rice to be auctioned by Customs
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs (BOC) will put up for public auction next week P34 million worth of Vietnamese rice illegally imported last August by the San Carlos Multipurpose Cooperative (Sacamuco), a farmers’ group based in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.
The rice shipment, consisting of 18,200 50-kilogram bags, is alleged to have been falsely declared by Sacamuco to have originated from Thailand.
In an advisory posted on the BOC website, Elmir de la Cruz, customs district collector at the Manila International Container Port (MICP), said the “public auction through sealed bidding” will be held on May 20 at 2:30 p.m. at the conference room of the MICP building at North Harbor.
The filing of bidders’ registration forms should be made “at least two days prior to the day of auction,” and the bidding registration fee of P2,000 is nonrefundable, he said.
De la Cruz said the highest bidder will be declared the winner “except when clustering occurs.”
He explained this to be “when the difference between the highest and the second highest bid is within 10 percent. In such cases, an open bidding shall be conducted among the bidders of the particular sale lot who are present with the highest bid serving as the new floor price.”
The the BOC earlier this year filed smuggling charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against top officials of Sacamuco.
The officials were identified by the bureau as chair Marivic Canillo, board members Felipe Gamuyao, Felipe Paas Jr., Aurelio Tome Jr. and Percy Reyes, and manager Doris Ortega.
The cooperative’s customs broker, Marvin Cortez, was also named as a respondent.
2 codes violated
For bringing rice into the country without the required import permit, the respondents were charged with violating both the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and the Revised Penal Code.
The initial BOC investigation showed that Sacamuco “misdeclared both the actual quantity of its rice imports and where the shipment came from.”
“In its import entries, the cooperative declared that the rice shipment came from Thailand and that each container had only 380 sacks of rice. However, further examination showed that the rice imports actually originated from Vietnam and that each container had as much as 520 sacks of rice,” the customs bureau said.—Jerry E. Esplanada