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Marcos orders more warehouse raids vs suspected rice hoarders

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to do more warehouse raids to address hoarding and illegal importation of rice in the country, Malacañang said Tuesday.

SHUTTERED FOR NOW Bureau of Customs personnel temporarily close the Great Harvest Rice Mill during an inspection led by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez together with Rep. Erwin Tulfo of ACT-CIS party-list, Bulacan 5th District Rep. Ambrosio Cruz Jr. and Rep. Mark Enverga of the first district of Quezon, in Balagtas, Bulacan, on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023. PHOTO BY FREDERICK SILVERIO

Palace press briefer Daphne Paez said the President issued the directive to the BoC during a sectoral meeting in Malacañang on Tuesday.

“In this morning's sectoral meeting, led by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., he issued directives to the Bureau of Customs to continue the warehouse raids to address hoarding and illegal importation of rice,” Paez told reporters during a Palace press briefing.

This came after the BoC, in a joint operation with the Coast Guard on August 24, closed three Bulacan warehouses filled with 202,000 sacks of reportedly imported rice valued at P505 million.

The BoC gave the owners of the facility 15 days to submit the required documents to prove they had undergone the correct process of storing the rice products.

“The subject warehouses were sealed temporarily to secure the imported sacks of rice found therein pending the completion of the inventory by the assigned examiners which will continue today, August 29. It is currently being guarded by the Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Coast Guard,” Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said during the same Palace press briefing.

“The owners and operators of the warehouses were directed to submit proofs of payment of duties and taxes due the subject imported sacks of rice within 15 days from the implementation of the LoA or until Sept. 8, 2023 pursuant to Section 224 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act,” he added.

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