Shipment company

SRA says sugar shipment seized in Subic

The shipment of sugar from Thailand that customs officers seized at the Subic port of Zambales was above all else, the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) said on Sunday.

It has developed as authorities discover whether warehouses recently inspected by customs and trade officials have been used to hoard stocks of sugar – and whether that constitutes economic sabotage, the SRA’s deputy administrator says. Guillermo Tejida III over the weekend.

In a statement, Tejada said the 7,000 metric tonnes of sugar intercepted by customs officers at Subic Port on board the vessel M/V Bangpakaew was part of Import Sugar Order No. 3. of 200,000 metric tons (MT) of sugar approved by the SRA. Council in May 2022.

In a memo to the Customs Office, Tejida also said the Thai shipment was legitimate.

“This is to certify that the refined cane sugar imported from Thailand was shipped by Ruamkamlarp Export Co. Ltd. and consigned to Oro-Agritrade Inc. on behalf of ARC Refreshment Corporation…. aboard the M/V Bangpakaew…. has been cleared by this office as “C” or Reserve Sugar pursuant to Sugar Ordinance No. 3, Series 2021-2022,” reads the certification letter to the customs office.

The SRA said the authorization is valid until September 4, 2022.

Importer Oro-Agritrade Inc., in a statement, denied government claims that its import permit had been “recycled” and was “open for review”.

“We hold a valid license and authorization from the Sugar Regulatory Administration,” the statement said.

On suspicion of hoarding, Tejida said during an interview on Dobol B TV, “We have to understand that hoarding is an auditable offence.”

“Even the Ministry of Trade and Industry would not say categorically that there is hoarding in these warehouses,” he added.

The Customs Office said on Sunday it was inspecting warehouses to make sure sugar supplies will be sufficient, as its officers found at least 60,000 bags of suspected hoarded sugar during surprise inspections at four warehouses in Guiguinto , Bulacan Saturday.

The huge volume of sugar was discovered when customs personnel, armed with a letter of permission, exercised their powers of visitor to inspect warehouses inside the T12 Polo Land industrial zone, located along Ilang-Ilang Street in Barangay Tabang.

“Authorities found sugar imported from Thailand in the inspected warehouses at 50 kilograms per bag. At least two of the warehouses were half full while one warehouse had sacks of sugar neatly stacked up to the roof,” the press secretary’s office said in a statement.

BOC inspectors learned from the warehouse guard that the bags of sugar imported from Thailand arrived at the Manila International Container Terminal on Friday evening.

PAHO said authorities were informed that the import permit used for Thai sugar was the allocation for Sugar Ordinance No. 3 (SO-3) approved by the Sugar Regulatory Board in february.

Customs officers always verify the authenticity of the import documents presented to them by the warehouse guard.

Following this latest development, PAHO said Malacañang is now open to the possibility of an “artificial” shortage of sugar supply in the country.

“The huge volume of sugar discovered by the authorities in the various inspected warehouses in Luzon has led Malacañang to conclude that the sugar shortage is artificial, caused by the hoarding of sugar traders who want to make huge profits from the sudden outbreak. the price of sugar,” the statement read.

Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz said he called in his men from the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) and Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) over the weekend. end to start inspection of warehouses in Caloocan town and Marilao in Bulacan.

Customs officials have asked warehouse operators to submit necessary papers and other documents within 15 days of their inspection after finding thousands of bags of sugar and warned them of outright seizure of any prohibited items.

The team will then refer them to the SRA in the Department of Trade and Industry to check for any violations.

The sugar shipment was seized by customs officers on August 18 at the port of Subic. At least 19 crew members of the Bangpakaew ship have been arrested.

The Thai exporter is listed as Ruamkamlarp Export Co. Ltd., while the local customs broker has been identified as Malou Leynes Buerano.

Publicist Trixie Cruz-Angeles earlier said the confiscation was based on a report by Ruiz, who claimed the import permit used for the shipment had been “recycled”.