BOC to impose stricter monitoring vs. ‘ukay-ukay’, food imports amid 2019-nCov fears

Robie de Guzman   •   January 29, 2020   •   467

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday said it will implement stricter monitoring on the entry of imported used clothing and food products amid the rapid spread of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China and other countries.  

Under Philippine laws, the importation of secondhand clothing, locally known as ‘ukay-ukay’, is prohibited while the importation of food products should be accompanied with necessary documents from concerned government agencies like the Department of Agriculture.

“Right now, we’re very high on alert on used clothing, May premium ang ukay-ukay kasi. That’s one of the easiest ways na puwede mo ma-transmit yung sakit na yan,” BOC Assistant Commissioner Vincent Maronilla said in a press briefing at the Malacañang.

“We’re now looking at critical items na puwede mag-carry ng virus na ito. It doesn’t hurt that we be vigilant about them kasi illegal naman talaga ang pagpaparating ng ukay-ulay. Hinuhuli naman naming regularly yan pero ngayon on heightened alert kami,” he added.

Chinese health authorities reported that the emerging virus can spread from animal to person, and through human-to-human transmission.

China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday reported that the number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases has reached 5,974 as the death toll rose to 132.

Maronilla said they are now coordinating with the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture to prevent the entry into the country of imported materials, such as animal products, that may carry the deadly virus.

“There could be a slowdown in the imports coming from China because these countries now like the US and the others are thinking of not just flight ban of tourist coming in but we don’t know yet how this virus is being carried,” he said.

“And if it can be carried in items that are going to be imported. very simple items. Then I think yung priority namin is yung safety ng mga kababayan natin other than yung makokolekta naming buwis,” he added. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Teenage boy dies in London after testing positive for coronavirus

UNTV News   •   April 1, 2020

A 13-year-old boy in London who tested positive for coronavirus has died, a hospital said on Tuesday (March 31).

“Sadly, a 13-year old boy who tested positive for COVID-19 has passed away, and our thoughts and condolences are with the family at this time,” King’s College Hospital said in a statement.

“The death has been referred to the coroner and no further comment will be made.”

The number of deaths from coronavirus in the United Kingdom rose by 27% as the UK government said 1,789 people have died in hospitals as of 1600 GMT on Monday, an increase of 381 from Sunday, the largest rise in absolute terms yet. (Reuters)

(Production: Gerry Mey, Michael Fiorentino)

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

Robie de Guzman   •   April 1, 2020

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 to donate seized overpriced medical supplies

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 30, 2020

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has announced it is planning to donate the seized overpriced medical supplies to the frontliners of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

BOC Assistant Commissioner Vincent Maronilla said they are already coordinating with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to finalize on the donation of the seized medical supplies.

Last March 26, the BOC seized P5 million worth of overpriced personal protective equipment and alcohol from a store in Binondo, Manila.

“We’re finalizing some plans na mapabilis agad ang forfeiture ng mga na-raid ng NBI, at pati na raid namin last week na overpriced alcohol, para ma-donate na natin sa frontliners na nangangailangan (to expedite the forfeiture of the seized goods from NBI raids, including the overpriced alcohol we raided last week. This is to donate it to the frontliners who need it),” he said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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