BOC seizes P15 million worth of PPEs suspected to be smuggled in Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   April 1, 2020   •   446

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday said it has seized P15 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) suspected to be smuggled in a series of operations in Manila.

The BOC said the PPEs were confiscated from three shops in Sta. Cruz, Manila that were jointly raided by the agents of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday, March 31.

Authorities recovered various PPEs, including gloves, face masks (surgical and N95), and goggles that are suspected to have been misdeclared as general merchandise when imported into the country.

“Smuggled PPE may pose a health risk to users since such items may not comply with the safety standards set by the government rendering them not fit for human utilization,” the bureau said in a statement.

The BOC said the inventory of said products is ongoing, while store owners were given 15 days to present necessary documents to prove that the items were legally imported.

“If proven that the PPEs were smuggled the store owners may face charges of smuggling in relation to the provisions of The Customs Modernization Act (CMTA),” the BOC said.

“Although the Bureau is focused in expediting the importation of PPE and other medical supplies badly needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency is also committed in ensuring that goods are within acceptable standards and are safe for the public use,” it added.

The BOC recently raided a shop allegedly selling PPE and alcohol at exorbitant prices online amid high demand for such medical supplies.

BOC warns public against ‘unclaimed package’ scam

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) warns the public against the so-called ‘unclaimed package’ scam.

The Bureau has been receiving reports of scam incidents involving unscrupulous individuals luring victims with a supposed unclaimed package at Customs using various means of communication such as online, e-mail, SMS and even phone calls.

Scammers allegedly use dummies or fake accounts. At times they would even use the Bureau’s name or pose as employees to deceive victims into paying duties and taxes through money remittance or personal bank accounts for the release of a certain package.

They even send bogus receipts, tracking numbers of packages and other documents to the victims to make the transaction seem legitimate.

Some scammers also use sophisticated methods such as the use of fake courier tracking websites that victims would be asked to visit to see the status of the supposed parcel.

The BOC reiterates that it solely assesses duties and taxes on parcels and these can be paid on a cash basis through the courier or freight forwarder upon delivery at the client’s doorstep or upon pick up of the parcel at the nearest local branch.

Furthermore, said duties and taxes can only be collected through BOC-accredited agent banks and not through personal bank accounts or other money transfer services.

Meanwhile, alleged tracking websites can be verified with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its website to see if the said courier is a DTI-accredited deconsolidator.

The public is advised to be careful in dealing with suspicious notifications and individuals asking for money.

How to spot a scammer?

  • Scammer fails to provide the address of their office
  • Scammer insists on paying through online banks and money remittance

What to do?

  • Immediately inform the Customs helpdesk or the BOC-CARES through email at boc.cares@customs.gov.ph or send a message tot he BOC’s Facebook page – Bureau of Customs PH

Report online scams to the cybercrime offices of the Philippine National Police or National Bureau of Investigation.

No photo description available.

BOC NAIA conducts stricter agri products inspection amid new swine flu

Maris Federez   •   July 6, 2020

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

DOF: P244-M worth of smuggled PPEs, medical supplies seized by Customs from March to May

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has confiscated P244-million worth of smuggled, unregistered or counterfeit personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies from March 25 to May 31, 2020, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Friday.

In a statement, the DOF said the seizure is part of the BOC’s efforts to stop the illegal importation, storage and hoarding of goods deemed essential to the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the BOC said that while it has released various regulations to facilitate and speed up the process of importing PPEs and other medical supplies, some unscrupulous traders have taken advantage of the coronavirus-induced crisis to smuggle such items into the country.

In his report, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said he has issued 10 Letters of Authority covering the inspection of persons and premises suspected of selling or storing smuggled and/or unregistered medicines and equipment from March 25 to May 31 this year.

“Moreover, profiling/targeting of imported shipments suspected to contain contraband and other smuggled articles were intensified. As a result a total of P244.4 million-worth of smuggled/counterfeit/unregistered PPE and medicines were seized by the Bureau,” Guerrero added.

Last May 1, various PPEs, and P70-million worth of Chinese medicines that supposedly cure COVID-19 were seized by the BOC in a warehouse in Singalong, Manila.

Guerrero said in his report that the medicines, which were contained in about 360 boxes, were not registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The BOC chief also said that they have seized other medical supplies in various operations including the following:

  • P5 million worth of masks, gloves, goggles, alcohol, thermal scanners, test tubes and syringes under the name of Philmed Dynasty Supplies Corp. based in Binondo, Manila;
  • An estimated P30 million-worth of various PPEs, such as gloves, masks, and googles under the name of ELJ1 Medical Shop based in Sta. Cruz, Manila; and
  • An estimated P9 million-worth of various PPEs, such as gloves, masks, goggles from the Medical Outlet based in Rizal Avenue, Manila.
  • An estimated P80 million-worth of various PPEs, such as gloves, masks, goggles, medicines, and foodstuffs from an establishment located at HK Sun Plaza, Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City.
  • An estimated P400,000-worth of various medical supplies and medicines from Ton Ren Tang Chinese Medication, Binondo, Manila.
  • An estimated P50 million-worth of various medical equipment and supplies from Omnibus Biomedical Systems.

“The cases involving these smuggled or unregistered products are now the subject of forfeiture proceedings by the BOC before the law division of the Manila International Container Port (MICP),” Guerrero said.

Aside from these items, the BOC also reported that it seized 2.2 kilograms of imported Chinese medicines without FDA clearance last April 27, and has initiated the filing of appropriate charges against their importers and consignees.

Another five boxes of Chinese medicines containing 48,000 medicinal tablets and bundled with 238 master cases of assorted imported cigarettes; 4 drums of toluene-2.4 diisocyanate; 2 drums of propylene glycol; 2 drums of glycerol-propoxylate-block-ethoxylate; 2 drums of vacuum pump oil; 2 drums of paraffin oil; 2 drums of power steering fluid; 1 drum of sodium hypochlorite; and 2 drums of siloxane were confiscated from a warehouse in Valenzuela City last April 30.

Guerrero said these were seized and taken into custody by the BOC for failure of the owner to present the required import documents for these items.

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