Sevilla assures farmers' groups of BOC's fight against smuggling


By Jigs Nepomuceno
Business News

Feb. 27, 2014



MANILA — Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner John Sevilla assured farmers' groups of the agency’s continued fight against smugglers.

"The BOC is one with all the farmers in the country to curb smuggling. We want to make these people, importers and even bureau personnel accountable,” he said in Filipino during the dialogue with the farmers Thursday morning.
An estimated 70 farmers representing various groups across the country rallied outside the BOC main office in Manila, to ask for swift action against rice smuggling.

Sevilla, along with Deputy Commissioner Jessie Dellosa, met with leaders of the different farmer organizations, coordinated by Alyansa Agrikultura and R1 (Rice Watch and Action Network) to discuss the extent and effect on farmers of rice smuggling and other agricultural products as well as other initiatives for cooperation such as information sharing.

“I am very happy that I was able to have a dialogue with you. We all know the effects of smuggling. In every container of rice being smuggled into the country at least 10 farmers are affected and the possibility of losing their livelihood,” he explained.

On the other hand, Ernesto Ordonez of the Alyansang Agrikultura was likewise elated that they were able to personally relay the farmers’ sentiments to the BOC chief.

“We are happy about this dialogue, we have been informed about the bureau’s fight against smuggling,” he added.

At the same time, the farmers expressed support for the BOC on the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court that allows the agency to seize illegal rice importations amidst on-going court-cases.
The pending cases are questioning the authority of the BOC to continue to hold containers of rice that arrived in the country without the required permits. (PNA)

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