Customs intercepts ₱45.6 million worth of imported sugar in Subic

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 19) — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) averted the possible smuggling of 7,000 metric tons of imported sugar in Subic, Zambales, the Office of the Press Secretary said on Friday.

The BOC said the import permit used for the cargo that arrived in Bangpakaew, Subic on Thursday was already used for a previous shipment, meaning it was recycled.

Acting Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz ordered the BOC to take custody of the 19 crew members of cargo vessel MV Bangpakaew, which was loaded with 7,021 metric tons of white refined sugar from Thailand equivalent to 140,000 bags and with total tax payment valued at ₱45.62 million.

Citing reports from the Office of the Executive Secretary, BOC said a similar modus of using recycled import permits resulted in the smuggling of a shipload of imported sugar last week.

The BOC said its initial investigation showed that the consignee of the sugar was Oro-Agritrade Inc. under the account of ARC Refreshments Corp. under Entry Nos. C-12513 and C-12521. It said the exporter is listed as Ruamkamlarp Export Co. Ltd, while the local customs broker was identified as Malou Leynes Buerano.

Customs added it received an order from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. through Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez to investigate the possibility that the sugar seized in two warehouses in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan were actually imported sugar but were repacked to make it look local.

The bureau conducted a series of raids this week, with ₱220 million worth of allegedly hoarded imported sugar seized in Pampanga and Bulacan. Malacañang warned more inspections will be done in the next couple of days to crack down on erring traders,

The sugar shortage in the country has recently hit top soda manufacturers, affecting prices in small businesses such as sari-sari stores and carinderias.