The Bureau of Customs (BoC) has ordered forfeiture proceedings against some 124,807 sacks of smuggled rice worth nearly P300 million.
The rice was seized by joint elements of the BoC and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in seven warehouses in Bulacan when they conducted random inspections in 801 warehouses containing 1,059,729 sacks of rice in different locations nationwide.
Among the 801 warehouses inspected, 168 were in Central Luzon, 137 in the Cagayan Valley Region and 139 in the Ilocos Region. The rest were scattered in different regions of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Two warehouses in Metro Manila were also inspected, 40 in the Cordillera and 59 in Western Mindanao and 75 in Bicol region.
All the warehouses inspected had an aggregate holding capacity of 7.2-million sacks but contained only 1,059,729 sacks during the inspection.
The PNP initiated inspection of rice warehouses on instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte to crack down on hoarding and smuggling of rice that resulted in an artificial shortage in rice supply.
Even as restrictions on rice importation had been relaxed, entities behind the P300 million rice smuggling may face permanent revocation of their import licenses.