President Aquino’s pledge against corruption bolsters the recently unveiled Operation Hammerdown of the sugar industry. In his speech at the 75th anniversary of the NBI, P-Noy reiterated his stand to “aggressively hunt down corrupt officials” and made them accountable to the people.
This policy statement supports the objectives of Operation Hammerdown which is the sugar industry’s plan for crop year 2011 / 12 in addressing the smuggling problem.
As noted by Gen. Joel R. Goltiao (ret.), head of the Sugar Anti Smuggling Organization (SASO) in the launching of the anti smuggling program, the Operation even goes further by providing all the legal documentations in pinning down all the entities involved in sugar smuggling.
This time around, the plan targets the upstream components of the illegal activity while also tackling the downstream wholesaling and retailing of smuggled sugar in the domestic market.
Recently, SASO personnel uncovered attempts by individuals to facilitate the release of 54,900 bags smuggled sugar stocks confiscated last June 2011 in Meycauayan, Bulacan. The stocks are currently in a warehouse in Bulacan guarded by BoC personnel.
A similar attempt was reported to take effect the release from the Port of Manila 16 containers of smuggled sugar (about 8,000 bags) already declared as “abandoned” by the BoC officials of the port. All available information has already been forwarded to the government agencies concerned for their appropriate action. (DA-SRA)
Sugar Industry Launches Operation Hammerdown against Smuggling
The sugar industry recently launched Operation Hammerdown as its response to push its anti smuggling efforts to a higher level.
The Operation aims to pursue the prosecution of sugar smugglers by gathering documentary evidence for use by the legal officers of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) in conjunction with the Bureau of Customs (BoC). Gen. Joel R. Goltiao (ret.) head of the Sugar Anti Smuggling Organization explains that this will be the focus of attention of SASO for the crop year 2011 / 12.
In the previous crop year, the SASO was preoccupied with intelligence and information gathering which were forwarded to the SRA and the BoC. These resulted in raids, apprehensions and seizures of smuggled sugar especially in the Ports of Manila and at the MICP.
Gen. Goltia says that this is a natural next step in order further discourage if not eliminate the illegal activity that has affected the livelihood of small farmers engaged in sugarcane farming. Small farms represent about 80% of all the sugarcane farms in the country.
Operation Hammerdown will be establishing connections with their foreign counterparts (especially in Thailand) as a proactive measure to identify illegal shipments even before the stocks arrive in the Philippines.
At the other end of the domestic marketing channel, wholesalers and retailers will also be closely watched in coordination with the LGUs and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Samples will be procured and analyzed at the SRA laboratories for possible imported sugar content. DA-SRA