Over P500,000 worth of smuggled rice seized in Cebu port

Robie de Guzman   •   August 12, 2020   •   444

More than half a million pesos worth of smuggled rice was intercepted at the Port of Cebu, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Wednesday.

The BOC said the shipment containing 495 bags of Myanmar White Rice was seized on August 10.

“This latest apprehension is the result of the intelligence and investigative work of the Port’s Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) headed by District Commander SPAS Jerry M. Arizabal,” the bureau said in a statement.

The bags of rice were intercepted after the ESS received information that a shipment that arrived at the Port of Cebu from Kaohsiung, Taiwan on July 23 was loaded with imported rice.

The bureau’s investigation showed that the inward foreign manifest declared the shipment to contain personal effects. It was consigned to a certain Theresa Lawas of Barangay Pansoy, Municipality of Sogod, Cebu.

However, verification with Barangay Pansoy revealed that it had no resident named Theresa Lawas.

With this information, Acting District Collector Atty. Charlito Martin Mendoza issued a Pre-Lodgement Control Order against the shipment on 29 July 2020.

“A 100% physical examination was subsequently conducted by Customs Examiner Odilon Bustamante in the presence of representatives from the ESS, X-ray Inspection Project (XIP), Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Chamber of Customs Brokers, Inc. (CCBI)-Cebu Chapter,” the BOC said.

The physical examination yielded 495 bags of Myanmar White Rice, and no personal effects as stated in the manifest, it added.

The bags of rice were also not covered by any Sanitary and Phytosanitary Clearance from the Bureau of Plant Industry.

Consequently, a Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the shipment for violation of Section 1113(f) and (l) par. 5of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The BOC reminded importers to properly declare their goods, and identify themselves in shipping documents. It also called on the public to report to the Bureau any information about illegal shipments that are attempted to be brought into the country.

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.

Bureau of Customs steps up drive vs rice smuggling

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is ramping up its campaign against rice smuggling even amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic by conducting raids on warehouses suspected of storing illegally imported grains following reports from concerned citizens, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement on Tuesday, the DOF said that Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero has assured Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that rice stocks imported by private traders during the pandemic would still be subject to “post-modification and post audit.”

This system will ensure that undervalued shipments are properly assessed and subsequently paid with the correct amount of duties and taxes.

Guerrero also said he had informed the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) that because rice is considered a “critical” commodity, traders were allowed to avail of the Provisional Goods Declaration in processing their shipments at this time of the coronavirus pandemic.

The FFF earlier questioned the BOC’s assessment and valuation system on the entry of rice imports.

“The BOC has found the valuation of several rice shipments with provisional goods declaration to be quite low compared to the prevailing market prices,” Guerrero said in his report to Dominguez.

“But those are subject to post-modification and post-audit. And in the meantime, we are still conducting the post-modification, verifying the payments of rice because some of them are clearly undervalued. So we will catch up in the post modification and post-audit,” he added.

Under Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 07-2020, if the Customs district/sub-port collector accepts a provisional goods declaration, the duty and tax treatment of the goods under provisional declaration will not be different from that of goods with complete declaration.

For the release of shipments under tentative assessment, the importer will be required to post the required security, whether in the form of surety bond or cash bond.

Guerrero said the customs bureau has also responded to reports by concerned citizens regarding warehouses suspected of storing smuggled rice stocks by immediately issuing letters of authority to enable BOC officers to inspect such warehouses and seize goods without the requisite importation permits.

“We actually raided them and we found out that many of these warehouses were operating legally and their stocks are covered by proper documents,” Guerrero said.

P1.8 million worth of ecstasy pills seized in Pasay City

Robie de Guzman   •   September 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities intercepted another smuggled shipment of party drug ecstasy worth P1.8 million in Pasay City.

The shipment, which contains 980 pieces of ecstasy pills, were found in a parcel misdeclared as “samples” at the Central Mail Exchange Center.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) seized the shipment with the help of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group.

The package was shipped by a certain “U Janssen” from Netherlands and consigned to a certain “Joey S. Ramos Jr.” from Malate, Manila.

The BOC said the party drugs were found after the parcel was subjected to X-Ray scanning and 100% physical examination.

The examination yielded three vacuum sealed pouches containing different colors of pills – gray, turquoise, and orange pills – that were concealed inside a brown envelope.

Field tests conducted by authorities confirmed that the seized Tablets were indeed Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) or commonly known as ecstasy.

The BOC said the contraband was turned over to the PDEA on Thursday for profiling and case build-up against the importers and other personalities involved 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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