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BOC holds off auction plans for smuggled rice in Zamboanga Sibugay

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

The cargo ship MV Diamond 8 with the smuggled rice in Zamboanga Sibugay

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) will not allow the resell of smuggled rice from Zamboanga, Sibugay unless the shipment goes through proper investigation.

According to Atty. Lyceo Martinez, BOC’s collection officer in Zamboanga, the agency is giving the owner of the shipment as well as the owner of the cargo vessel, MV Diamond 8, ample time to prepare for the investigation.

BOC said the process will take time because the ship involved is an international vessel. If the owners are proven to have violated the Philippine law, a warrant of seizure and detention will be issued against them and the shipment.

“After considering all the facts of the case from the Navy at saka sa mga may-ari ng barko (and the vessel owners)…after the proper seizure and forfeiture proceedings, doon pa lang natin sila pwedeng i-auction (only then can we hold the auction),” Martinez explained.

On Tuesday, representatives from the Philippine Navy, BOC, the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Quarantine met to discuss the joint inventory on the smuggled rice.

“We want to turn this over to the proper agencies and then iyong sa crew naman, doon sa (as for the crew, turn them over to the) Bureau of Immigration. As far as the goods are concerned naman itu-turn over namin ito sa (we will turn them over to the) Bureau of Customs,” Col. Joe Anthony Orbe, the acting commander of the Naval Task Force said.

The shipment includes 27,180 sacks of rice valued at P67 million.

The BOC wants to make sure through the inventory if there are other illegal items aside from the smuggled rice on board MV Diamond 8. — Dante Amento | UNTV News & Rescue

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Cavite, several areas in Zamboanga Sibugay under state of calamity due to dengue

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

A child suffering from dengue fever receives medical treatment at an isolation ward of a government-run hospital in Manila, Philippines, 16 July 2019. (Photoville International)

Cavite and several areas in Zamboanga Sibugay are under a state of calamity due to the increasing number of dengue cases in the province.

Based on the data of the Department of Health (DOH), the number of dengue cases in Cavite went up to 3,605 from January to July 13 this year. This is higher than the 2,670 cases recorded in 2018.

Around 18 patients have already died due to the illness this year.

Meanwhile, dengue cases in the Zamboanga Peninsula also increased to 9,104 with over 30 deaths.

According to DOH IX, several areas in Cavite and in Zamboanga have already declared a state of calamity. These areas include Ipil, Kabasalan, Buug, and Diplahan.

DOH IX Infectious Cluster Dr. Mary Rose Bugtai said the local government will be able to use the calamity fund to address the dengue situation in their area.

“To address the current situation like the want to purchase more commodities for integrated vector management like our larvae site like our spray cans for misting and other commodities used for dengue outbreak,” she said.—AAC (with reports from Benedict Samson)

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34 of 400 samples of pork products tested positive of African Swine Fever – BAI

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

Boxes of pork items from Poland intercepted in Cebu on June 27 | Courtesy: BAI

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has intercepted a number of pork products from Hong Kong and China at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in between June 19 to 28.

The items didn’t have sanitary and phytosanitary clearances from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and could have been infested by the deadly pig virus African Swine Fever (ASF).

China is one of the 19 countries from where entry of pork and pork-based products are banned.

From a total of 400 samples that BAI examined, 34 tested positive of ASF and these products could have caused infestation in the country’s hog industry if they were not intercepted.

Germany was the latest addition to the list of countries where entry of pork products to the Philippines was banned.

Though there were no reports yet of ASF-infestation in Germany, the Philippines included it in the list after a German company exported pork products to the Philippines along with some 250 kilograms of pork from ASF-hit Poland.

The said shipment was intercepted in Cebu on June 27 which included 27 boxes of pork items from Poland.

That incident, according to Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, was a clear violation of the country’s Quarantine Law thus resulting in the ban of pork products from Germany.

“Nakikiusap ako.(‘Im appealing to you) Please understand, these are extraordinary times. We cannot take the risk,” Secretary Piñol said.

“Kasi tingnan mo, Germany napaka-respectable na bansa nyan. It’s export country known for its high standards, nasingitan tayo, (You see Germany is a highly respected country. It’s exports are known for its high standards but some banned (pork) slip past their screening,)” he explained.

Piñol stressed that ASF infestation would compromise the country’s P260-B worth of hog industry.

Some of the Philippines’ neighboring countries have already declared an outbreak of ASF such as Vietnam and Cambodia.

In May, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked store owners to self-recall pork products from China that covers those manufactured since the start of the import ban.

Still, Piñol assures the Philippines’ hog industry remains ASF free. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

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Customs personnel tagged in corruption to face admin raps before Ombudsman – Palace

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 19th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte meets the relieved employees of the Bureau of Customs in Malacañang on July 18, 2019. | Courtesy: Sen. Bong Go

MANILA, Philippines – Officials and employees of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) tagged in corruption allegations will face administrative charges before the Office of the Ombudsman, Malacañang said on Friday.

“Administrative charges over allegations of corrupt practices in office will be filed against them before the Office of the Ombudsman, unless they opt to resign, and the prosecutors will ask for their immediate suspension,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

On Thursday night, President Rodrigo Duterte met with dozens of customs personnel in Malacañang.

Panelo said Duterte told them they will be given their day in court as part of the due process.

“The President has been forthright in telling these customs officials and employees that corruption has no place under his watch,” Panelo said.

“PRRD [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte] assured them that he would not begrudge them if they would avail of legal remedies to question their removal from office,” he added.

The president, Panelo said, “thanked them for accepting his invitation to meet him in Malacañang, which according to him, showed they still have respect for him.”

While waiting for the formal filing of charges, the said customs officials will be “in floating status without authority to act on official matters.”

The chief executive earlier ordered for the freezing of several high-ranking customs officials who were accused of corrupt practices in office.

READ: Duterte orders freezing of several Customs officials, employees

“Let this serve as a reminder to all those officials or employees in the government that they cannot escape liability or accountability for their acts of corruption under the Duterte administration,” Panelo said. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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