Commissioner Napoleon L. Morales on September 19 presented to the media fourteen forty-footer containers of smuggled apples, ginger and onions valued at over P24.8 million seized by Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service operatives at the Port of Manila.
All fourteen containers which arrived in two different shipments at the Port of Manila from Hong Kong and China were consigned to Futek Enterprises. CIIS operatives alerted the shipment after the 3D-day grace period in which the importers failed to file the necessary entries.
Inspection of the containers revealed that the four containers which arrived on board Fesco Trader from China , declared to contain apples, actually contained fresh apples and ginger. The other ten containers which arrived on board Ocean Park from Hong Kong were also misdeclared as garlic but actually contained yellow and red onions. Both shipments were not covered by any import permit from the Bureau of Plant Industry of the Department of Agriculture.
"We will unplug these reefer containers to speed up the decomposition process and we will finally dispose the contents either by rendering or burying underground," said Dino Tuason, Head of the Intelligence Division of CIIS.
"We are seeking the guidance of the Bureau of Plant Industry on how best to dispose these products," said Commissioner Morales, who also clarified that the shipments may not be sold through auction, "because these have not been cleared by the DA as fit for human consumption. We cannot allow these to enter the market. We have to protect our consumers."
The volume of the seized apples and ginger, if sold to the market, can fetch some P6.4 million. On the other hand, the volurT:Ie of onions is valued to be worth some P18.4 million.
Commissioner Morales also ordered the CIIS to review all overstaying containers in the container yards to determine what can be auctioned, or disposed of to decongest the container yard in preparation for the anticipated increase in volume of imports in the last quarter of the year due to the higher demand during the Christmas season.