FDA eases rules to expedite Customs release of imported respirators, other medical devices

Robie de Guzman   •   March 26, 2020   •   831

MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has relaxed its rules to expedite the release of imported respirators, ventilators and other medical devices which are essential in responding to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a letter dated March 23 addressed to Bureau of Customs (BOC) Rey Leonardo Guerrero, FDA Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo advised the bureau that importers of ventilators, respirators, and their respective accessories for commercial purposes need only to present copies of their license to operate.

“On the other hand, foreign donations of ventilators, respirators, and their respective accessories to be used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients need not require FDA clearance prior to customs release,” Domingo said.

“We hope that the measures being introduced would expedite the customs release of ventilators, respirators and their respective accessories which are vital in responding to the threat of COVID-19,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. lauded the FDA’s move.

“No more FDA approval needed. No more excuses to delay release from Customs. Thank you all,” he said in a Twitter message which is accompanied by the FDA letter.

A similar rule for commercial imports and foreign donations of personal protective equipment such as face masks and head covers was also issued by the FDA earlier.

FDA, nagpaalala sa tamang pag-iimbak ng alcohol at sanitizer upang makaiwas sa sunog

Robie de Guzman   •   October 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nagpaalala ang Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sa publiko hinggil sa wastong pag-iimbak ng rubbing alcohol, sanitizer at iba pang uri ng disinfectant dahil posible umano itong pagmulan ng sunog.

Ayon kay FDA director general Eric Domingo, flammable o madaling masunog ang mga ganitong uri ng materyal dahil sa taglay nitong mataas na antas ng alcohol at iba pang kemikal.

Maliban sa rubbing alcohol at sanitizer, kabilang din sa flammable products na kalimitang nakikita sa bahay ay ang aerosols katulad ng hairspray at anti-perspirant sprays, fabric softener, nail polish remover, cooking oil, at harina.

Ginawa ni Domingo ang paalala sa gitna ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic kung kailan marami ang gumagamit ng alcohol at iba pang disinfectant upang makaiwas sa COVID-19.

Ayon sa FDA chief, dapat ilagay sa maayos na lugar ang mga bote ng disinfectants at malayo sa apoy o sa mga bagay na may matataas o maiinit na temperatura.

“Gusto natin sa temperature na mababa, hindi pwede sa mainit, wala sa direct na araw. At syempre gusto natin sa mga lugar na maaliwalas, hindi sa mga confined,” ang wika ni Domingo.

“Kapag ganito, may posibility na pwede siyang ma-ignite o masindihan at hindi lang masunog, maaring sumabog,” dagdag pa niya.

Dapat rin aniya ay may maayos na label ang mga produkto at may sapat na babala at impormasyon para sa mga gagamit nito.

“Meron tayong mga labelling requirements na nakalagay. And in fact, pag alcohol, nakalagay diyan may warning na probable o maaaring masunog at of course maaaring sumabog ang ganitong produkto,” ang wika ni Domingo.

Paalala rin ng opisyal sa publiko na sundin ang mga direksyon sa pakete hinggil sa paggamit at pag-iimbak nito upang makaiwas sa aksidente. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Customs NAIA seizes $8,000 US dollar bills hidden inside magazine

Robie de Guzman   •   September 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Monday said it intercepted $8,000 US dollar bills concealed between the pages of a cooking magazine.

In a statement, the BOC said the parcel was seized at the Fedex warehouse on Sept. 25. It was misdeclared as “correspondence” from New Jersey, USA and consigned to a certain resident in San Pedro, Laguna.

The bureau said the smuggled banknotes, which are in $50 and $100 bills, were discovered after the package was passed through the X-ray machine and was subjected to physical examination.

“The seized foreign currency shall be subjected to seizure and forfeiture proceedings in violation of Sections 1400 (Misdeclaration) and 1113 of R.A. No. 10863 (CMTA) in relation to the R.A. 7653 (New Central Bank Act) and BSP Foreign Exchange Transaction Manual,” it said.

The bureau added that the case records will likewise be referred to Bureau Action Team Against Smugglers (BATAS) and Legal Service for further investigation, case build up and prosecution for violation of Sections 1400, 1401 of the CMTA in relation to the New Central Bank Act.

The BOC advised the public to refrain from attempts to engage in similar fraudulent schemes as the BSP Manual of Foreign Exchange Transaction simply requires the faithful declaration and accomplishment of Foreign Currency Declaration Forms for importation and exportation of foreign currency in excess of USD10,000 or its equivalent.

P4.5 million worth of shabu seized in Pasay City

Robie de Guzman   •   September 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has seized 640 grams of shabu (crystal meth) estimated to worth P4.5 million in a warehouse in Pasay City.

The contraband was found in an unclaimed parcel at the DHL warehouse.

The BOC said the seized illegal drug was concealed inside tin cans of wafer and packs of chocolates, stuffed toys, candies and slippers to avoid detection.

It was shipped from Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States and consigned to a certain resident of Hagonoy, Bulacan.

However, its contents were detected through “intensified vigilance and profiling BOC-NAIA” and coordinated with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA and the NAIA Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (IADITG).

Chemical Laboratory Analysis conducted by PDEA confirmed that the seized white crystalline substance were indeed methamphetamine hydrochloride.

The BOC said the items have been turned over to the PDEA on Sept. 24 for further profiling and case build-up against those behind its importation for possible prosecution for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in relation to Section 1401 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

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