Despite efforts from the government such as importing 3,500 metric tons of onions to bring down the staple good’s exorbitant prices in the market, more smuggling drama continues as the Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized 18 containers of onions concealed by pizza dough.
The containers that hid the red and yellow onions were shipped into the Manila International Container Port, where customs authorities seized and inspected the shipments.
The BOC said the shipments were covered by several bills of lading, and were previously declared to contain pizza dough and fish balls.
Yet upon inspection, authorities found that even the pizza dough was not covered by the mandated license and permit from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The BOC also said that the shipments were in violation of local plant quarantine laws, which require importers to secure a sanitary and phytosanitary important clearance (SPIC) from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) for agricultural goods.
Authorities were reportedly tipped off by “derogatory information” that came from China.
Although onion prices have since fallen from the PHP700 (US$12.71) spike last year, the highest prices for onions in the world, the humble kitchen staple continues to be expensive for many consumers. Prices from the latest Department of Agriculture monitoring sheet show local red onions ranging from PHP90 to PHP150 (US$1.63 to US$2.72), while local white onions ranged from PHP80 to PHP130 (US$1.45 to US$2.63) per kilogram in Metro Manila markets.
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