11 charged for sugar smuggling

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs has charged 11 people in connection with a failed attempt to smuggle ten 20-foot container vans containing sugar from Thailand at the Port of Cebu last November 22. 

The agency filed cases against 7 officers of a freight service company in Cebu, 2 customs brokers, a port dispatcher and a warehouse owner on Thursday, April 25.

The BOC brought charges against officials of Calorama Freight Services, the consignee of the sugar shipment. These include company president Judith Escuadro and directors Democrito Rama, Carolina Q. Rama, Christine Q. Rama, Fatima R. Qui, Emeline E. Archival and Shiela Cecilia E. Ignacio.

The agency also filed cases against customs brokers Junrey Arreglo and Tita D. Austria, port dispatcher Rodilin Solidarios and warehouse owner Jesse Yu.

The 11 alleged smugglers were charged for violating Sections 2503 and 2530 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines and the rules and procedures of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA). They were accused of misdeclaring the container vans as shipments of marble, granite and plastic parts for eyeglasses to avoid obtaining permits from the SRA.

The sugar shipment has a value of P10 million.

“Smuggling is really a serious menace to society. It takes away local jobs and business, as well as ruin families and lives. And so long as smugglers still lurk in the Customs industry, this social and economic menace could be far from over.” said Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon.

“We are hoping, therefore, for the speedy resolution by the Department of Justice of the case we are filing today, as well as the other cases we have already filed, if only to send the strong message that we are really serious in the fight against smuggling.”

Last April 11, charged a Cebu-based rice trader for smuggling, bringing the total number of smuggling cases filed by the agency to 127 over a 17-month period. - Rappler.com