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

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2020   •   476

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.”

BOC cleared over 14M doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday (June 18) reported that over 14 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been cleared.

During a virtual public briefing on Friday, BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said that among the 14 million doses, 9 million are Sinovac vaccines; 2.5 million are AstraZeneca; 2.4 million are Pfizer-BioNtech; and 180,000 are Sputnik V.

Guerrero said the agency is expediting the process for the immediate distribution of the doses.

He also assured the public that the BOC is also making sure that the PPE’s and other medical equipment arriving in the country have proper documentation. The BOC is also diligent in collecting taxes to fund government projects and boost the country’s economic recovery.

The BOC chair will also make sure to intensify efforts in curbing smuggling. He also advised the public to report any complaints to the agency. AAC

Louis Vuitton recognizes BOC’s anti-smuggling, anti-counterfeit drive

Marje Pelayo   •   June 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Famous luxury brand Louis Vuitton expressed appreciation for the Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) relentless drive against smuggling and counterfeit items.

This year, the combined efforts of BOC Enforcement Group’s Enforcement and Security Service (EG-ESS) and Intelligence Group’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (IG-CIIS) already seized a total of P2.1 billion in estimated counterfeit goods.

Louis Vuitton Malletier, commonly known as Louis Vuitton or by its initials LV, is a French fashion house and luxury goods company founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton.

The brand is a manufacturer of high-end bags, belts, shoes and other fashion items.

As such, the brand is commonly the victim of counterfeit and fake items that are illegally imported into the country.

In a statement, Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero thanked the famous French brand for the recognition given to the efforts brought forth by the Bureau.

He also thanked the representatives of Louis Vuitton for their continued support in the Bureau’s drive against prohibited goods.

The Commissioner also assured that the Bureau of Customs shall remain committed in securing the country’s border and supporting legitimate brand owners.

Guerrero received a plaque of recognition from the famous luxury brand on June 14.

P4M worth of cigarettes misdeclared as ‘paper hand towel’ seized in Quezon City

Marje Pelayo   •   June 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs Port of NAIA confiscated a total of 2,520 reams of cigarettes with an estimated market value of P4 million misdeclared as “paper hand towel” bound for Australia.

In a report by BOC, the agency said the smuggled shipment was commissioned for export by a local company based in Novaliches, Quezon City, to South Geelong Victoria, Australia.

Upon physical examination by the assigned trade control examiner, it was instead found to actually contain 2,520 reams of cigarettes.

District Collector Carmelita Talusan already issued a warrant of seizure and detention (WSD) against the seized cigarettes for violation of Section 1400 (Misdeclaration) and Section 1113 (Property Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture) in relation to Section 117 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The case records shall also be referred to the Bureau Action Team Against Smugglers (BATAS) for possible case building and profiling against the personalities behind the foiled illegal exportation of tobacco products.

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