BOC NAIA conducts stricter agri products inspection amid new swine flu

Maris Federez   •   July 6, 2020   •   458

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Custom (BOC) announced that its personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has intercepted a total of 775.6 kilograms of meat and meat products without Sanitary & Phytosanitary clearances from January to June 2020.

In a statement released on Saturday (July 4), the BOC said the meat and meat products that they have confiscated include 268.2 kilograms of pork, 106.4 kilograms of beef, 298.2 kilograms of poultry, and 102 kilograms of other kinds of meat.

The BOC added these products arrived without permits and health clearance, and were brought in through NAIA from African Swine Fever (ASF) infected countries.

“All the items were turned over to the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) for quarantine and immediate disposal to prevent the spread of the virus dangerous to local health and to the food industry,” the press release read.

It added that, with the emergence of a new strain of swine flu virus, the frontliners of the BOC-NAIA who man the passenger area and air cargo warehouses are on high alert against the possible entry of contaminated meat products.

“Customs NAIA has been consistent in protecting our local industry from any possible swine and agricultural epidemic and supports the directive of Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero to continuously monitor and safeguard the country’s borders,” the statement concluded. —/mbmf

3 alleged human trafficking victims intercepted at NAIA – BI

Robie de Guzman   •   August 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Three people suspected of being victims of human trafficking and illegal recruitment have been intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Monday.

In a report to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, BI port operations division acting chief Grifton Medina said the passengers were stopped last week before they could board their flights to the Middle East and Europe.

Medina said one of the victims was bound for Dubai while the two others were destined for Greece, all of them showing intentions to work illegally as undocumented workers.

According to BI’s Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU), the Dubai-bound passenger was intercepted last 25 July 2020 after the immigration officer noticed that the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) was not cleared and validated by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration – Labor Assistance Center (POEA-LAC) desk at the NAIA.

Verification with the POEA-LAC later revealed that the said OEC was tampered as it was issued to someone else and not to the said passenger.

The victim then admitted that her trip was processed by her handlers and that her documents were only given to her when she arrived at the airport.

The BI-TCEU also reported that the two Greece-bound passengers who were intercepted last Saturday, August 2, likewise presented fraudulent travel documents, including fake OECs and local employment certificates.

The bureau said that upon interview, they confessed that their documents were only handed to them at the airport. They also said they were recruited to work in Athens by their handlers to whom they each paid P95,000 in return for facilitating their trip and processing their documents.

“Thanks to the vigilance of our primary inspectors for foiling these attempts by human trafficking syndicates to sneak their victims out of the country,” Medina said.

The victims were turned over to the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) for investigation, according to the bureau.

Over P186 million worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in Manila Port

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Around seven containers carrying undeclared cigarettes were intercepted at the Manila International Container Port (MICP), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

In a statement on Monday, the BOC said around 6,249 master cases of Two Moon, Mighty, Marvel and D&B Cigarettes that are estimated to have the market value of P P186.9 million were found inside the containers upon physical examination of its personnel.

Verification of documents showed that the shipment came from China and were declared to contain towels, school bags, bed sheets, non-woven bags and fabrics.

The BOC said the operation marks the biggest apprehension of smuggled cigarettes by MICP.

Possible charges may be filed against those behind the shipment for violation of Section 117 in relation to Section 1113 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and other relative National Tobacco Administration (NTA) and Bureau of Internal revenue (BIR) rules and regulations, the bureau added.

Importer who squeezed in 63 reptiles inside luggage convicted for high-profile wildlife smuggling

Marje Pelayo   •   July 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday (July 23) announced the conviction of an importer who tried to illegally sneak in 63 reptiles into the country.

According to the BOC, Judge Allan Ariola of Pasay City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 48, sentenced the importer a penalty of three to six months imprisonment for violation of Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001.

The imported exotic wildlife include 54 Iguanas; two Basilisk; four Veiled Chameleon and three Bearded Dragon.

The importer, who flew in from Bangkok, Thailand, was intercepted in February 2019 by BOC personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 through an after-flight screening upon arrival.

The animals, which were concealed inside his luggage, had no import permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

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