BOC, NFA and DA slide shows-A A +A
By Jun Ledesma
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
CHANGING of the guards in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has not resulted in anything significant in terms of curbing smuggling and improving ports collections. There are a few slide shows to project something is being done to run after smugglers but I personally doubt whether BOC can do the task of altogether stop illegal activities in the ports by itself.
When the new Customs Collector assumed post in Davao the BOC authorities withheld 100 vans of “white rice” consigned to San Carlos Multi-purpose Cooperative. It appears that it has no import permit. Just about the same week two container vans of meat from China were likewise impounded by Customs authorities in General Santos City. I was told that these were finally disposed of by burning and burying whatever remained of the contraband.
As I write this piece, the management of San Carlos Multi-purpose Coop is said to have filed a protest why their shipment was impounded. Their basis was that they obtained a Notice of Allocation from the National Food Authority and that they have not misdeclared the cargo for indeed they indicated that what they imported was “white rice”. The BOC on the other hand claimed that NFA Allocation does not constitute a legal import permit.
On the surface, both parties appeared to be telling the truth but there is more to this than what meets the eye. There are nuances in the Customs transactions that I am a stranger of so in the meantime I will pass some of the issue off but let me point out some interesting points.
I am surprised why the SCMC which is based in Mindoro opted to unload their rice importation in the Port of Davao. Furthermore isn’t it basic that they first secure an Import Permit to bring in commercial quantity of cargoes? That they got a Notice of Allocation does not constitute that they can proceed procure such a huge volume of rice. It’s like playing baseball. You have to touch all four bases before you make a score. The coop merely reached first base. The NFA allocation notice is in itself highly inconsistent with the claim of the NFA and the Department of Agriculture claim that the country has enough rice buffer stock to last for at least 90 days. Both NFA and DA have been bragging that by next year we will be a net exporter of rice! That’s the problem with appointing an American citizen to head NFA and an aggie secretary who is more adept at necromancy than monitoring the real status of farm productivity in storm-ravaged rice granaries of the country.
Consider this tale of the absurd. Aggie Sec. Proceso Alcala makes us believe that sooner than soon we will be exporting rice. NFA Administrator Orlan Calayag on the other hand issues allocation for rice importation in a manner Janet Napoles releases largesse to senators and congressmen. Alcala and Calayag are like holding office under one roof but they are apparently merely inventing figures to please the public and the President. Now we are told that the government had in fact been importing tons of rice amounting to billions of pesos which are now rotting in NFA bodegas. Both Alcala and Calayag have been feeding President Noy hogwash data if you get my drift.
I do not know where this impounded rice will go ultimately. If the BOC will seize this in favor of the government they might ask Calayag and Alcala to re-export this back to where it came from. This, along with the huge inventory of imported rice at the NFA bodegas courtesy of Amboy Calayag. Let’s wait the next slide show.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 31, 2013.