BOC crushes smuggled cigarette-making machines, fake master cases

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2019   •   523

MANILA, Philippines – Several units of smuggled cigarette manufacturing machines, fake cigarette master cases and other packaging materials were destroyed at the Port of Clark, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said on Monday.

In a statement, the BOC said seven units of cigarette-making machines, one unit of plastic recycling machine, a manual lifter, a generator set, and a generator cooling system were crushed using a backhoe.

The agency said these items were seized last February 19 and forfeited last July 26 for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The BOC said the destruction of smuggled materials was part of its efforts to prevent illicit trade and customs fraud.

“The said activity sends a strong message to smugglers to stop their illegal business practices, shortchanging the government of the rightful revenues,” the agency said.

The BOC at the Port of Clark, meanwhile, said that on Tuesday, Nov. 19, two more sets of cigarette-making machines, one set of automatic strapping machine, plastic shredding facility, as well as 145 cigarette master cases, packaging materials, and tax stamps will also be destroyed.

The said items were confiscated last March 5, 2018, and forfeited last August 6 for violation of the CMTA, Intellectual Property Rights Law, National Tobacco Administration Circular No. 3-2014, BOC Memorandum Circular No. 15-2015 and 20-2006 and BIR Revenue Regulation No. 1-97.

BOC vows immediate release of COVID-19 vaccines once supply arrives in PH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Tuesday assured it will immediately facilitate the release of vaccines against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) once they arrive in the country.

The BOC said it has started inspecting warehouses in various international airports, and coordinated with concerned government agencies in preparation for the arrival of the vaccine supply in the country.

The government’s task force on COVID-19 response earlier said that the first batch of vaccines approved for use in the Philippines may be delivered starting next month.

BOC spokesperson Atty. Vincent Maronilla said they met with concerned agencies to discuss the protocols, permits and facilities needed for the arrival and processing of the approved vaccines.

Maronilla added that they have also conducted a study on how to expedite the process of issuing clearances and identified possible bottlenecks in the system to ensure that the vaccines’ release will not be delayed.

“Our time release study that we actually conducted in preparation for this particular importation, tumingin na kami ng proseso namin, nag-streamline na kami ng proseso naming, inidentify na namin yung mga bottlenecks na pupwede,” he said.

“When we say bottlenecks, marami rin kasi magpaparating ng ibang items hindi lang yan di ba? That it will be mere hours when this arrives at our airports and its release through the Bureau of Customs,” he added.

Maronilla said the bureau will also draft a reporting system that will allow the public to keep track the delivery of the vaccines.

“Part of the measures that we are going to undertake is also a regular report to the public… A public report for us to be transparent on how many vaccines have we processed, how many have we released similar to that which we adopted during the height of the pandemic para sa PPEs,” he said.

“Para aware ang taumbayan kung ilan talaga yung pumasok, may na-delay ba at hindi na-delay pra maiwasan natin ng misinformation, kumalat ang fake news,” he added.

The BOC said it will also put up a One-Stop-Shop for vaccines at the airports that will accommodate and assist incoming importations to fast-track the clearance process. RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Customs seized P9.75B worth of smuggled goods in 2020

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has confiscated an estimated P9.746 billion-worth of smuggled goods in 2020, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Tuesday.

Citing a report submitted by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the DOF said the Customs bureau seized smuggled cigarettes and other tobacco products in 150 out of 792 operations it conducted in the country’s ports last year.

“For the anti-smuggling effort of the BOC, the consolidated estimated value of seized shipments last year is P9.746 billion, of which P5.217 billion are from seizures of cigarettes and tobacco, P1.85 billion are from drugs seizure and P1.02 billion from counterfeit items,” Guerrero told Dominguez during a recent Executive Committee meeting.

The confiscated tobacco products made up 53.5 percent of the total amount of goods seized by the BOC during this period, Guerrero said.

Aside from tobacco products and illegal drugs, the BOC also seized P32.59 million-worth of various types of currencies from January to December 2020.

General merchandise worth P403.89 million, vehicles and automobile accessories valued at P354.53 million, and agricultural products amounting to about P207.7 million were also apprehended by the BOC, Guerrero said.

The BOC also seized personal protective equipment (PPEs), medical supplies and cosmetics worth P195.57 million; jewelry and other products, P69 million; foodstuff, P212 million; used clothing, P130.59 million; electronics goods, P31.07 million; steel products, P4.76 million; alcoholic beverages, P2.43 million; chemicals, P5 million; and firearms, P300,000.

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 28 last year, Guerrero said the BOC filed 74 criminal complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against 268 respondents suspected of smuggling, and another 52 administrative cases before the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

As of Dec. 4, 2020, the BOC also ordered the closure of 20 customs-bonded warehouses (CBWs) and 40 members of customs common bonded warehouses (CCBWs) for various violations, Guerrero said.

“In 2020, the BOC already completed the inspection and investigation of a total of 150 Customs Bonded Warehouses and 247 Members of CCBWs,” Guerrero said.

Dominguez previously ordered the BOC and Bureau of Internal Revenue to intensify their respective operations against smugglers and tax evaders despite the mobility restrictions triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

2 nabbed in Batangas over P600,000 worth of Kush Marijuana — Customs

Robie de Guzman   •   January 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Two persons who allegedly claimed a parcel containing P600,000 worth of Kush Marijuana were arrested by authorities, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

The BOC identified the two as Van Joshua Magpantay and Johnyengle Hernandez who were arrested on Saturday by agents from the bureau, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and the NAIA Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (NAIA-IADITG).

They were apprehended in a vape shop in Lipa City, Batangas during a controlled delivery operation jointly conducted by the BOC, PDEA, and IADITG.

The BOC said the parcel, which arrived thru Fedex Pasay City, was sent by a certain Nina Manual from California, USA.

It was misdeclared as “musical instruments” and consigned to a certain “Dimitria Escalona” of Batangas.

When subjected to x-ray scanning and physical examination, the parcel was found to contain two vacuum-sealed transparent plastics of 500 grams of dried leaves later identified as high-grade marijuana, also known as Kush.

“The apprehended claimants and seized dangerous drugs are now under the custodial investigation of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for filing of criminal charges for violation of Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and Section 1401 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act,” the BOC said in a statement.

The latest apprehension follows the seizure of P1 million worth of ecstasy tablets in Central Mail Exchange Center, it added.

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