Firms to lose permit for tampering with food products expiration dates

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — A company found to be tampering with the expiration dates of food products kept in its warehouse here is facing revocation of its permit to operate, and may eventually lose its certificate of registration as a Freeport enterprise.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said she has ordered the suspension of the certificate of registration and tax exemption (CRTE) of Phil-Em Enterprise Incorporated after the firm’s employees were caught red-handed in a raid by law enforcers last Monday.

“It saddens me to know that some unscrupulous people are taking advantage of others especially in this time of pandemic,” Eisma said.

She said that the consent to sublease given to Phil-Em Enterprise for the use of a warehouse at the Global Industrial Park here may also be withdrawn if warranted.

“We will not tolerate any activity that violates the law and besmirches the solid reputation of the Subic Bay Freeport as the leading economic center in the part of the country,” Eisma added.

According to a report from the SBMA Intelligence and Investigation Office (SBMA-IIO), elements of the National Bureau of Investigation and the SBMA-IIO raided the Phil-Em warehouse early Monday on the strength of a search warrant issued by the Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City.

During the operation, law enforcement agents caught Phil-Em employees in the act of erasing the expiry dates on packs of Clover Chips and replacing the same with new dates using printing machines, said SBMA-IIO officer in charge Rodel del Rosario.

Subsequently, the operatives confiscated four Citronex printers with conveyors, 150 reams of label stickers, 50 reams of various printed label stickers, and two cans of eraser fluid.

The agents also seized several boxes of food items like Clover Chips, Ligo sardines, Nissins Cup Noodles, Century Tuna, Milo energy drink, Sky Flakes crackers, Star margarine, Magnolia cheese, Royal and Fiesta pasta, Lily’s peanut butter, and food seasoning.

Phil-Em owner Philip Velasco was arrested along with employees during the raid, Del Rosario also reported. They were brought to the NBI office in Olongapo for further investigation.

Velasco’s business partner Amanda Pathak, who was also named in the search warrant, will also be charged by the NBI, said Del Rosario.