SINAG SAYS TO AVOID SMUGGLING DA must work with Bureau of Customs
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
Rosales – The Department of Agriculture should coordinate with the Bureau of Customs about the correct tonnage of imported goods that enter the country to avoid smuggling at the expense of local products, an agriculture group said.
Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) Chairman Rosendo So said Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol should use the Veterinary Quarantine Clearance (VQC) as basis to determine the weights of goods imported from other countries to see if they jibe with the declaration of the importers in the Philippines.
He said pork, chicken, onions, and others are the favorite products the smugglers have been mis-declaring since time immemorial.
VQC is issued by the country of origin of the imported goods to show that the products are safe for consumption by the people of the country of destination, according to So.
“VQC is issued by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to importers of animal related products, then a plastic seal is placed in the container vans,” according to So.
He explained that everytime a container arrives in a port of entry, officials from the BoC and DA come and the DA would assign a quarantine officer to check the incoming shipment.
“But the problem is the importer had already paid for the import before a quarantine officer could check if the product has Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) clearance” he said.
He said people at the the DA and BoC were lax on checking misdeclared imported goods.
Another problem he saw was the quarantine officer’s propensity to open and close its inspection on farm products like meat, chicken, beef, or duck.
Another problem he saw was the quarantine’s propensity to open and close its inspection to farm products like meat, chicken, beef, or duck.
The country should have Veterinary Quarantine Clearance so that there will be a certificate issued like in other countries, he said.
He said people at the the DA and BoC were lax on inspecting the misdeclared imported goods, thus the
VQC and the declaration by the importer does not tally with each other.
“Pagdating dito hindi rin nagbabantay ang tao rito. Bukas, sara, labas. Ano ang na-che-check nila wala. For example iyong declaration mali, ang papel tama. Hindi naman nila ni check ang laman so important diyan ang VQC na tingnan ang kargamento. Dapat dito para double check and paglabas naman papunta sa National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) sa loob ng second boarding ang inspection dapat i-check,” he stressed.
He said Piñol should task NMIS, an agency under the DA, with inspecting the cargoes that enter the port.
“Iyong VQC at NMIS pagdating ng kargamento sa first boarder sila na ang nakabantay. Iyong second boarders hindi sila ang naka bantay”.
DA Administrative Order No. 09 enumerated that the second or final boarder of inspection is the last form of inspection and clearance of agriculture products, fish, fishery products including the agricultural inputs being undertaken by the Department of Agriculture Border Inspection (DABI) assigned at the border control to ensure that such imported products/commodities have finally satisfied the DA safety, quality and environmental requirements before the distribution for domestic use.
He cited as example 100 containers of agricultural products released by BoC that did not undergo double checking by the VQC and the NMIS.
“Medyo nagugulat kami na tinututulan namin na wala iyong VQC saka iyong NMIS,”he quipped.
He said the DA should also coordinate with the Philippines Port Authority to minimize smuggling at the BoC.
Recently, Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon warned suspected smugglers of imported cigarettes, luxury cars, and oil products that their days are numbered under an intensified investigation on their activities that had been costing the government lost revenues equivalent to a tenth of the agency’s annual collections target. According to him, smuggling of cigarettes, oil, and luxury vehicles were the “top sources of revenue leaks,” with foregone revenues reaching over P50 billion annually – or about 10.7 percent of the annual revenue target averaging P467.9 billion
He said he would want to end during his term the “prevalent” misinvoicing of imported goods as well as fraudulent misrepresentation or misdeclaration – both underdeclaration and overdeclaration – of the real value of imported items.
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