SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Port of Subic seized on Monday 12 container vans loaded with fresh onions with an estimated market value of PHP24 million.
In a statement on Tuesday, BOC-Subic collector Marites Martin said the cargoes that arrived from China were consigned to two port users – Thousand Sunny, which was to receive three containers, and Dua Te Mira, which was to get nine.
The manifest, however, indicated that the contents of the 40-footer refrigerated container vans were frozen chapati (flat Indian bread).
Martin said the BOC decided to declare the cargoes abandoned as nobody claimed them nor presented proof of ownership for all or part of the shipment.
The BOC said the 12 refrigerated vans contained hundreds of sacks of fresh red onions with an estimated market value of PHP2 million each.
During the inspection at the New Container Terminal here, five of the containerized vans were opened in the presence of Martin, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Wilma T. Eisma, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary Ronnel Abrenica, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources field inspector Tom Muñoz.
One of the containers was equipped with a global positioning system (GPS) tracking device, which the BOC said is used to track the container’s current position or location.
The BOC inspection team members said this is the first time they discovered a GPS tracking device placed in a container van.
Meanwhile, Eisma expressed her regret after hearing that the seized cargo may end up in waste and asked Martin and Muñoz if it could be donated to the poor or charity institutions.
“In this time of pandemic, when many already lost their jobs, and more have nothing to cook, sayang naman po kung masisira lang ang mga ito (it’s a waste if these products will just be destroyed),” Eisma told the two officials.
Martin and Muñoz assured the SBMA chairman that if it is allowable by law, the confiscated illegal and imported agricultural products would be recommended to be donated to the needy.
The BOC is still conducting follow-up operations pertaining to the shipment. (PNA)