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Onion smuggling continues, sometimes under the very nose of the Bureau of Customs

In July, seven large cargo containers were sneaked into Cagayan de Oro port. The raw white onions from China were mis-declared as other food products. Customs officers at the northern Mindanao City confiscated the contraband. This all seems all right.

However, although Customs-Cagayan de Oro condemned the shipment on August 20, instead of crushing, burying or incinerating the produce, a third party transported and sold six container loads in Davao City on September 18.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has strict orders to stop agricultural smuggling. As concurrent Secretary of Agriculture, he instructed the Bureau of Plant Industry to withhold all vegetable import permits.

Some sources claim that traffickers recycle goods through various means, often in cahoots with Customs. In April-June 2022, Congress investigated the nonstop agricultural smuggling. Customs Acting Commissioner Yogi Ruiz said on September 22 that “eliminating agri-smuggling, along with drugs and guns,” is his priority, as instructed by the President.


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