Customs to donate to DepEd gadgets, educational items seized at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2020   •   388

MANILA, Philippines – Electronic devices and other educational materials seized at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport will be donated to the Department of Education (DepEd) to aid in its distance learning program, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

In a statement on Tuesday, the BOC said it has conducted inventory of the seized and abandoned items in preparation for donation.

Several devices and items identified for donation include flash drives, hard drives, mobile phones, full HD LED computer monitors, printers, laptops, routers, pocket WiFi, and computer tablets.

The bureau will also donate educational books, and school bags and shoes.

The BOC said it has obtained appropriate clearances from the National Telecommunication Commission and the Optical Media Board to ensure that the items to be donated have passed the minimum standard and are safe for public use.

“Customs NAIA hopes that the gadgets will be of help in the blended learning program of DepEd and be able to support this new learning modalities of students in different communities,” the bureau said.

The effort is part of BOC’s contribution in addressing the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of DepEd’s distance learning program.

Senators want pilot testing of 100 schools for in-person classes

Robie de Guzman   •   February 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Several senators are pushing for the conduct of pilot testing of face-to-face classes, citing the need for immediate experience to help fine-tune the reopening of physical classes in schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Senator Francis Pangilinan urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to pilot the in-person classes to an initial 100 schools instead of the suggested 1,605.

“Kung mayroong UK variant at natatakot doon sa pagkalat, e di bawasan natin ang pilot areas, gawin nating isang daan muna. Ang importante, mayroon tayong pagkukunan ng karanasan ngayon pa lang at hindi iyong pagdating doon sa dulo saka natin gagawin dahil nakaangkla tayo sa isang libo,” Pangilinan said in a statement.

DepEd Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan earlier said that they initially chose 1,065 schools, or five schools per division, to participate in the dry run of face-to-face classes.

Malaluan said that this figure is equivalent to only over two percent of the more than 47,000 public schools in the country.

“Baka naman pupuwedeng mayroon kayong alternative just to be able to get a system going and be able to fine-tune. Ang importante napa-pilot at nakikita iyong mga gaps so that when you expand it even to 1,065, you already have the experience of 500 or 300 to work around and to work on the necessary adjustments,” Pangilinan said.

“We need the experience now, we need the lessons drawn now because we don’t have the luxury of time,” he added.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of Senate committee on basic education, arts, and culture, also expressed support for the dry run of in-person classes.

“’’Di naman po ibig sabihin na kinancel yung face-to-face, titigil na rin tayo sa pilot schools. This is a good way for our scientists to study what can be done to mitigate the effects of COVID-19,” he said in a separate statement.

DepEd earlier proposed the pilot testing of limited face-to-face classes in 1,605 schools, citing an internal DepEd survey that clamor is from the learners themselves.

The pilot testing was scheduled in January but it was postponed by President Rodrigo Duterte due to the continuing threat of COVID-19.

DepEd made a fresh bid for the resumption of physical classes in areas classified as low-risk for COVID-19 transmission this month, citing a survey that showed more than 50% of students were in favor of attending face-to-face classes.

It was still rejected by Duterte as he stressed that classes will only resume once the vaccination against COVID-19 starts.

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.

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