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

Robie de Guzman   •   April 1, 2020   •   753

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.

DOF orders BOC to heighten security vs pork smuggling

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Finance (DOF) has ordered the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to heighten its security against pork smuggling .

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III wants a tighter watch over the possible misdeclaration or misclassification of pork shipments entering the country.

The order was issued after President Duterte approved in principle the recommendation of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to expand the minimum access volume (MAV) allocation for pork imports.

Dominguez said some importers may misdeclare their pork shipments to avoid paying higher import duties. The current tariff on pork within the MAV is at 30 percent, while off-quota imports are taxed a higher 40 percent. 

“Edible offal (entrails) of bovine animals, such as swine, sheep and goats are taxed much lower, which some importers may declare [for their] prime pork shipments to avoid paying higher import duties,” the DOF said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero assured that the bureau has been closely monitoring the imports of meat products, including pork and chicken. AAC

BOC seizes P6.8M worth of shabu concealed inside an air fryer

Marje Pelayo   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs-Port of Clark reported the seizure of two black plastic packs of shabu with a weight of 1,000 grams and an estimated value of P6.8 million concealed inside an imported Air Fryer from Sha Alam, Malaysia.

The shipment, which arrived on February 16, was declared as “Air Fryer, Silkware”.

Physical examination led to the discovery of two frying pans and one air fryer. 

Meanwhile, x-ray examination revealed the presence of organic substance inside the lid of the air fryer. 

The Customs examiner opened the same where he found two black plastic packs containing crystalline substances which were later confirmed to be methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu after laboratory testing and chemical analysis.

The claimant was arrested on February 19 through a Warrant of Seizure and Detention issued by District Collector Atty. Ruby Alameda.

He is now facing a case for violation of Section 4 (Importation of Dangerous Drugs) in relation to Section 26a , Article II of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

P13-M worth of smuggled cigarettes, medicines seized in Parañaque ops – BOC

Robie de Guzman   •   February 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) reported it has apprehended smuggled cigarettes and medicines worth P13 million in a series of operations recently launched in Parañaque City.

The BOC said the items, allegedly smuggled from China, were confiscated in separate operations in two storage facilities located in Tambo last February 16 and 19.

The first operation yielded an estimated value of P4 Million while the subsequent operation yielded an estimated P9 Million worth of cigarettes and medicines which are suspected to be used to treat COVID-19, the bureau added.

The BOC said operations were launched by operatives from its Manila International Container Ports (MICP) Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) and Enforcement and Security Service, in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard and the National Bureau of Investigation.

“Further investigation is underway to determine those responsible for the storage facility,” the agency said in a statement.

Charges for violation of section 1400 of Republic Act 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act may be filed against those behind the smuggled items, the BOC said.

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