Authorities seize PHP17 million worth of bulbs hidden in secondhand clothing

With the prices of local onions already reaching as high as PHP700 (US$12.51) a kilo, the drama of smuggled onions has also taken turns: the Bureau of Customs (BOC) just nabbed PHP17 million worth of illegally sourced onions hidden in ukay-ukay (secondhand) clothes.

Customs said the smuggled yellow onions, which came from China, were found concealed among stacks of used garments worth PHP2 million (US$35,726). The agency said the shipment was initially declared to contain plastic buckets, women’s blouses and slippers, dish plates, and cat litter.

The BOC reportedly acted upon alert orders made on Dec. 22 for three containers from China that were consigned to a certain SB Express Logistics and Business Solution Inc.

Upon inspection, all three containers were found to contain yellow onions hidden among layers of clothing.

In December, the Department of Agriculture warned sellers that they could face charges for helping spread illegally sourced onions in the market. It also advised the public to steer clear of smuggled onions as they could pose a serious health risk.