P15M worth of misdeclared high-end goods seized at NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2020   •   1008

MANILA, Philippines – A shipment of high-end branded goods that were misdeclared as personal effects was recently apprehended at the Port of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

In a statement, the BOC said the shipment, which consisted of bags, shoes, wallets and other luxury goods was valued at P15 million.

The items included high-end brands like Chanel, Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Balenciaga bags, shoes, wallets, and earrings.

The bureau said that the shipment was fraudulently declared as personal effects, consisting of shampoo, soap, towels, toiletries, canned goods, milk and chocolates, packed in 17 cartons. It was shipped from Milano, Italy through RRG Freight Service Forwarder in Paicargo Warehouse.

A physical examination of the subject shipment confirmed that it actually consists of high-end goods in commercial quantities.

The BOC said the misdeclaration is an apparent attempt to evade payment of correct duties and taxes by circumventing duty and tax free privileges afforded to balikbayan boxes.

According to Port of NAIA district collector Carmelita Talusan, the shipment will be subjected to seizure and forfeiture proceedings for violation of Section 1400 in relation to Section 1113 of the CMTA.

The records and details of the apprehension shall be referred to the Bureau Action Team Against Smugglers (BATAS) for case profiling and build up against the personalities involved in the foiled smuggling.

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.

Duterte orders Cebu to follow IATF’s COVID-19 testing, quarantine protocols for returning Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   June 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has directed the provincial government of Cebu to adhere to the COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols set by the national government for returning overseas Filipinos, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the announcement after the memorandum from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on the diversion of Cebu-bound flights to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) lapsed on June 12.

“From the Office of the Executive Secretary, the President has decided that the IATF protocols must be implemented by the Cebu province,” Roque said during his regular online briefing.

“The President has also considered the DOH critique and has decided that Cebu province must abide by IATF arrival protocols,” he added.

Cebu had been administering RT-PCR tests on returning nationals upon their arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

This is contrary to the IATF protocols, which require arriving Filipinos to undergo quarantine in a government-accredited facility for 10 days and take an RT-PCR test on the seventh day of their arrival.

“The last extension was just a preparation for full implementation of that decision,” Roque said, pertaining to Medialdea’s order to extend the diversion of flights bound for Cebu to NAIA, which was in effect from June 5 to 12.

Roque, however, leaves to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) the decision on what measure to take should Cebu continue to defy the national government’s protocol.

Duterte earlier met with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to discuss quarantine protocols.

Palace extends diversion of Cebu-bound int’l flights to NAIA until June 12

Robie de Guzman   •   June 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The diversion to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) of international flights bound for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) will be extended to June 12, Malacañang announced on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea has issued a memo extending the flight diversion “until 23:59 hours of June 12.”

 Roque said this is to provide ample time for authorities to thresh out Cebu Province’s COVID-19 protocols for returning Filipinos, which differs from the directives issued by the national government.

International flights for MCIA were initially redirected to NAIA from May 29 to June 5.

“Ito po’y para maayos yung pag-implement ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) arrival protocol sa Cebu,” Roque said in a media briefing.

The Cebu government requires passengers to undergo a test upon arrival at the airport while the IATF requires screening of passengers on the 7th day of their quarantine.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week met with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to discuss this difference.

Roque expects the Cebu government to comply with the specific protocols mandated by the IATF after the flight diversion period ends.

“Upon resumption of flights to Mactan-Cebu International Airport, the travel and testing protocols approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases will be fully and seamlessly implemented,” Roque said, reading from the memo.

“Inaasahan po natin that on the 13th of June, the IATF protocols on arriving OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and OFs (overseas Filipinos) will be implemented in Cebu. Yan po ay according to the memorandum issued by the executive secretary dated 5 of June 2021,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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