Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Campaign against garlic smuggling caused market disruption

When the Bureau of Customs implemented an honest to goodness campaign against smuggling, many traders complained saying that their businesses are being harmed by the ultra draconian measures of the Commissioners. The flow of goods has been impeded.

Those in the know took a wait and see attitude. These are multi-billion peso players who can absorb tremendous losses. Majority of those who transact with Customs, though, are middle-ranged income players. They get hit when their imports took a long time processing.

Garlic imports are one of five banned imports here in the Country, along with cement, resins, rice, and steel products. As what a Customs insider shared several moons ago, you can make some shipments in but if you want to smuggle in these things, you better prepare to lose.

It is best that Customs commissioner John Sevilla is a paragon of purity of intentions at the Customs, same goes to Deputy Commissioners Ariel Nepomuceno and Ags Uvero. The thing that really bothers everybody is the way Deputy Commissioner Dellosa conducts himself. Dellosa is causing huge problems at the Customs because he gives all those alert orders like how a cop does it.

Meaning, yes, Dellosa is probably right and honest in his ways but his draconian style is really off to most people. For example, the way he impedes the flow of goods. Dellosa alerts even those "clean shipments" of legitimate businesses and traders. Imagine, shipments today are kept at the minimum two weeks inside Customs warehouses, being shouldered by importers and brokers.

Now garlic importers were reportedly tagged as "priority targets" because they reportedly smuggle not just garlic but drugs. Some shipments seized by the Customs a year ago had these garlic shipments mixed with metamphetamines.

Because of the paranoia of several Customs officials, garlic and onion imports go under the most stringent inspections, and these inspections last not just a couple of weeks, but even months. Hence, when you impede the flow of goods into the market, this will affect prices since there will be times when you don't have enough garlic or onions out there. The law on prices say that the lesser an item exists in the market, the valuable it becomes.

So, there is tremendous demand but not much supply.

What is so intriguing still is the fact that there is someone manipulating all of these for quick returns. These people, some say, are financiers of politicians involved in illicit and large-scale smuggling.

Who are these people?