Duterte denies appointing new Customs chief

Maris Federez   •   January 14, 2020   •   346

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte administers the oath of Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero during a ceremony at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City on October 30, 2018. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has denied rumors of appointing a new chief for the Bureau of Customs, now being headed by former Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) chief of staff, Retired Gen. Ray Leonardo Guerrero.

The President said, however, that they had been talking about other possible personalities who can head the BOC.

Duterte also said that he is satisfied with Guerrero’s performance despite continuing reports of corruption inside the bureau.

“I am satisfied with General Guerrero, and he stays there and there are still some complaints so I’ll talk to him. Lalo na ‘yong mga tao na sinabi ko na paalisin na niya, some of them are lingering there. Sabihin ko kay Jagger, alisin mo ‘yan kasi ‘yan ang mga tao who have been there for 20 years, puro corruption ang ginawa,” the chief executive said.

The President made the clarification after a news article claiming that he has replaced Guerrero as Customs chief was published in a broadsheet last week. — mbmf

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)

P5-M worth of overpriced PPE, alcohol seized in Binondo, Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   March 27, 2020

P5-M worth of overpriced PPE, alcohol seized in Binondo, Manila

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday (March 28) announced the confiscation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and alcohol worth P5-M in a store in San Nicolas, Binondo, Manila.

Information from a concerned citizen of Barangay 281-26 in the area prompted the raid launched by BOC in coordination with the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) assisted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Manila Police District (MPD) on March 26.

Initial investigation revealed that the store was selling overpriced essential medical items which include face masks, gloves, goggles, alcohols, thermal scanners, test tubes and syringes.

Specifically, the store’s online operation charge buyers almost four times the suggested retail price of the items.

The owners of the shop were not around during the raid. They have only 15 days to provide the authorities importation documents to prove that said items were legally procured.

Otherwise, the owners shall face charges for smuggling in violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The operation was in line with the BOC’s commitment to border security and its relentless campaign to curb smuggling despite the health risk due to COVID-19 pandemic.

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