By Stephanie Sevillano

MISDECLARED PRODUCTS. Agriculture Assistant Secretary James Layug inspects misdeclared products at the Port of Subic on Thursday (March 12, 2023). The PHP40 million worth of misdeclared shipment was reportedly lacking required documents, including the phytosanitary import clearance. (Photo courtesy of DA)

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday said it has confiscated around PHP40 million worth of misdeclared agricultural products at the Subic Port.

In a statement, the DA said the smuggled products were consigned to a certain Abucayan Business and Trade.

“The team found misdeclared agricultural products that were purported to consist of squid rings but instead contained dressed chicken, duck head, and duck neck, worth approximately PHP40 million,” the DA said, pertaining to the operation conducted on March 2.

The shipment was placed in two container vans with incomplete requirements, particularly the phytosanitary import clearance (SPSIC).

It said Abucayan Business and Trade shall face charges for alleged misdeclaration and misclassification of the shipment.

The DA said it will proceed to file charges for violation of the Food Safety Act of 2013 and the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act of 2016.

It said the move is still part of the administration’s effort against agricultural smuggling, which was earlier noted as economic sabotage.

“The confiscation of the said shipment is related to the ongoing directives of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to curb illegal trade activity to enable Filipino farmers and fishers to increase income and make locally grown agricultural products more competitive,” it added.

Meanwhile, several agencies helped the DA Office of the Assistant Secretary for Inspectorate and Enforcement (IE), including the Bureau of Customs, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Bureau of Animal Industry. (PNA)