BOC intercepts illegal shipment of waste from United States

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 22, 2020   •   247

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday (October 21)  intercepted an illegal shipment of potential waste materials exiting the Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation.

The two container vans arrived from the United States and were consigned to Bataan 2020 Incorporated. They were declared as American old corrugated cartons for repulping.

However, further examination by the BOC revealed that the containers were filled with prohibited waste materials which were illegally imported.

Authorities said the consignee and other individuals involved will face charges for violating Republic Act no. 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act. AAC

US FDA authorizes first COVID-19 kit for self-testing at home

Robie de Guzman   •   November 18, 2020

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it has approved the first novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) diagnostic test for self-testing at home.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the US FDA said it has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit, made by Lucira Health, for home use with self-collected nasal swab samples in individuals age 14 and older who are suspected of COVID-19 by their health care provider.  

The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit is a molecular (real-time loop mediated amplification reaction) single use test that is intended to detect the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19, the US FDA said.

“While COVID-19 diagnostic tests have been authorized for at-home collection, this is the first that can be fully self-administered and provide results at home,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn.

“This new testing option is an important diagnostic advancement to address the pandemic and reduce the public burden of disease transmission,” he added.

The FDA said the test works by swirling the self-collected sample swab in a vial that is then placed in the test unit.

“In 30 minutes or less, the results can be read directly from the test unit’s light-up display that shows whether a person is positive or negative for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Positive results indicate the presence of SARS-CoV-2,” it added.

Individuals with positive results are advised to self-isolate and seek additional care from their health care provider.

While those who test negative and experience COVID-like symptoms should follow up with their health care provider as negative results do not preclude an individual from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The kit may also be used in point-of-care (POC) settings such as doctor’s offices, hospitals, urgent care centers and emergency rooms for all ages but samples must be collected by a healthcare provider when the test is used at the POC to test individuals younger than 14 years old.

The test is currently authorized for prescription use only, the FDA said.

Customs NAIA seizes $38,700 US Dollar bills hidden inside magazines

Robie de Guzman   •   November 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Tuesday said its operatives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have intercepted a total of $38,700 US Dollar bills concealed between pages of magazines.

In a statement, the BOC said the bills were found hidden inside three packages in Fedex Warehouse.

The parcels, misdeclared as “documents,” arrived on Nov. 2. These were all sent by a certain Jacqueline Paas from the United States of America and are consigned to individuals from Poblacion, Muntinlupa City.

When subjected to 100% physical examination, the packages were found to contain the smuggled banknotes.

Just last week, the BOC NAIA similarly intercepted US$13,500 undeclared foreign currencies.

In sum, for the year 2020, the port issued Warrants of Seizure and Detention against various currencies with aggregate equivalent value of Php29,875,000.

“The seized foreign currencies shall be subjected to seizure and forfeiture proceedings in violation of Sections 1400 (Misdeclaration) and 1113 of R.A. No. 10863 (CMTA) in relation to the R.A. 7653 (New Central Bank Act) and BSP Foreign Exchange Transaction Manual,” the BOC said.

The bureau reminded the public that the BSP Manual of Foreign Exchange Transaction requires the faithful declaration and accomplishment of Foreign Currency Declaration Forms for importation and exportation of foreign currency in excess of USD10,000 or its equivalent.

Customs seizes P120-M worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in Tawi-Tawi

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2020

More than P120 million worth of smuggled cigarettes were recently intercepted in Tawi-Tawi, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

The bureau said a vessel, which was carrying the shipment from Indonesia, was seized on Nov. 6 by its operatives from the Port of Zamboanga.

The operation stemmed from an information it received about a vessel, M/L Nur 1 departing from Indonesia en route to Indanan, Sulu.

“Guided by the Intelligence Group, the information was then relayed to the Customs personnel in Taganak Island, Tawi Tawi for validation and coordination,” the BOC said in a statement.

An operation was then launched against the vessel by the bureau’s anti-smuggling team, in cooperation with the Naval Intelligence and Security Unit – Zamboanga, Naval Forces Western Mindanao, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, Philippine Marines, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and other intelligence operatives.

Upon inspection, authorities seized more or less 3,000 boxes of undocumented cigarettes.

The seized goods shall undergo proper disposition procedure pursuant to Customs laws, the bureau said.

A Warrant of Seizure and Detention will be issued against the subject goods for lack of permit from the National Tobacco Administration and for violation of the Amended Rules and Regulations Governing the Exportation and Importation of Tobacco and Tobacco Products pursuant to Executive Order No. 245, as well as violations of R.A 8424 known as National Internal Revenue Code of the Philippines and Section 1401 of R.A 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tarrif Act.

The BOC said the operation is part of the agency’s “ultimate goal of erasing the stigma of Mindanao being the country’s backdoor for smuggling operations.”

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