Photo from the Bureau of Customs
MANILA, Philippines — Over P30-million worth of smuggled frozen chicken, supposedly misdeclared as hotpot balls, were intercepted at the Manila International Container Port according to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday.
In a statement, the BOC said that the frozen chicken inside five 40-foot containers was consigned to a certain Lycan Consumer Goods Trading and was intercepted by authorities on Wednesday.
BOC Commissioner Rey Guerrero said the operation was launched after receiving information that the shipping containers had frozen chicken products in it, noting that it is necessary for them to act fast to catch smugglers.
“We need to act fast if we want to catch up to these groups. My standing order is to not delay the issuance of needed documents that will allow our agents to do their jobs well,” Guerrero said in a statement.
An assessment of the containers showed that the frozen shipment included items like chicken breast, frozen skinless chicken breast, frozen skinless cut chicken, frozen peeled chicken breast, and frozen chicken skinless big breast.
District Collector Romeo Allan Rosales is expected to issue a Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) against the shipment, as the consignee and its broker may face charges by BOC.
The BOC also noted that the operation came even as the agency is facing scrutiny after officials were accused of taking part in agricultural smuggling operations, an allegation that Guerrero denied.
The Senate committee of the whole in a previous report identified Guerrero and 21 other BOC officials as smugglers or protectors of smugglers who have allegedly illegally imported agricultural and fishery products from 2019 to 2022.
Guerrero belied the supposed intelligence report implicating him and other officials as part of the smuggling operations, noting that intelligence agencies like the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency have not issued any report on the issue.
READ: Customs chief Guerrero denies involvement in smuggling of agri-fishery products
Customs Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Raniel Ramiro meanwhile said that they’re even thankful that Guerrero supports officials and BOC employees in tracking down smuggled items.