Photo from Bureau of Customs CDO’s Facebook page

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs in Region 10 (BOC-10) recently seized P20 million-worth of smuggled onions from China at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) Port in Phividec compound, Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

Two container vans, which arrived at the MCT last December 21, were loaded with 50,000 kilos of red onions but were declared as “Bread and Pastries”, said lawyer Justin Roman Geli, chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) in Northern Mindanao.

“We have already requested for an issuance of warrant seizure and detention of the shipment,” he said in an interview.

A report from the CIIS read: Examination of Alerted Shipment consigned to Asterzenmed Inc. with Bill of Lading (BL) nos. SITTARCD1460239 and SITTARCD145254 with container numbers TLLU1127887 and OTPU6548034 declared as Bread and Pastries found positive to contain undeclared onions.

The seizure occurred at a time when the price of red onions in the local market reached as high as P500 per kilo during the Christmas season.

BOC-10 said District Collector Alexandra Lumontad has issued a pre-lodgement control order against the imported cargo following a joint request from the CIIS and the Customs’ Enforcement and Security Service led by Capt. Abdila Maulana Jr.

Lumontad issued a stern warning against unscrupulous individuals attempting to defraud the government of lawful revenues.

“Even during the holiday season, we will not wane our guards against agricultural smuggling, which affects our revenue collection for not only the government coffers but also our local farming industry,” he said.

Warrants of Seizure and Detention were issued against the shipments for misdeclaration in violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act and Department of Agriculture regulations.

The Port of Cagayan de Oro, Lumontad said, will continue to be vigilant in protecting its borders against the smuggling of agricultural products. (

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