Philippines warns travellers of bringing in veggies, fruits without clearance

PHILIPPINE’S customs authorities said on Wednesday that more than 700 cases of smuggled goods, including farm products, were recorded in 2022, warning travellers not to bring in vegetables and fruits illegally.

The country’s Bureau of Customs reported 709 seizures of smuggled goods with an estimated value of 24.28 billion pesos (roughly 443.9 million dollars) last year.

The report said 137 of them were various agricultural products worth 1.87 billion pesos (about 34.19 million dollars).

“Travelers may not bring in vegetables (regardless of quantity) into the Philippines without the required Plant Quarantine (for personal use).

“Or Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance for commercial use from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI),’’ the bureau said.

It added that all importations of agricultural products, except those selected under the Super Green Lane Facility, are identified as high-risk commodities.

Under the Customs Modernisation and Tariff Act, the importation of plants and farm products requires prior clearance or a permit from the relevant government agency.

Some Filipinos and even airline crews who returned from overseas were found to have smuggled onions into the Philippines due to soaring prices and a shortage of farm products at home. (Xinhua/NAN)