Customs clearing out bottlenecks in agri smuggling prosecutions

THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) said it is seeking to move more quickly on prosecutions of agricultural smugglers in partnership with the Department of Justice (DoJ).

The Bureau said in a statement that it is working with the DoJ on streamlining the communication and case-filing process to bring alleged smugglers to court more expeditiously.

The agency recently seized 18 containers of misdeclared red and yellow onions at the Manila International Container Port as well as 30,000 sacks of misdeclared refined sugar at the Subic Bay New Container Terminal.

It said it also filed four criminal cases before the DoJ against importers suspected of having smuggled agricultural products.

This year, the agency has been set a collection target of P901.3 billion.

This includes P570.3 billion in value-added taxes from imports, P207.4 billion worth of excise taxes, P105.1 billion in import duties and P18.5 billion from other fees.

As of Feb. 28, the BoC reported that it collected P133.38 billion in revenue, surpassing its P124.74-billion target for the first two months of the year. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson