THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Tacloban City port area dumped some 982 sacks of confiscated milled rice at the city’s landfill area after it was found to be no longer fit for human and animal consumption.
A BOC report said the rice shipment arrived at the city port on July 13, 2013, and consigned to a private company A-1 Milling Corporation.
A hold order, however, was requested by the Enforcement and Security Service Customs Police (ESS/CP), which was approved by the District Collector at that time, citing the lack of import permit from National Food Authority (NFA) and other pertinent documents.
It was stored at NFA GID warehouse and was affected by the Super Typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013, which killed over 6,000 people in the city.
On February 17, 2014, then district collector decided to forfeit the subject shipment in favor of the government for violation of Section 2530 (f) and (1)-5 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), as amended, BOC said in a press statement.
The owner or claimant also expressly renounced its right over the seized milled rice, which left him no other option but to order for its forfeiture, it added.
While the rice items were offered to be sold in public auction twice, it also failed due to lack of interested bidders.
After two failed biddings, it has been automatically forwarded for a “negotiated sale” subject for the approval of the commissioner.
With the abrupt changes in the Bureau’s administration, the Office of the Commissioner was not able to come up with a decision.
After the result of the laboratory analysis performed by the NFA, which deemed the rice to be unfit for human and animal consumption, the burying of rice was decided, it said.
Acting District Collector Jose A. Naig said he created a Committee on Disposition of Goods Injurious to Public Health in compliance with Section 1145 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).
After the committee inspection, it recommended the disposal of the said item after it turned “moldy, discolored and powdery, and emitted a pungent smell.”
“Upon my assumption of office, I have worked out for the condemnation and immediate burying of these items. The prolonged stay of these commodities is prejudicial to the interest of the government because we are paying for their storage and they're hazardous to public health,” Naig said in a statement.
The disposition of spoiled rice items was also witnessed by the local media and some representatives from NFA and BOC, among others. (SunStar Philippines)