P7.3 million worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in waters off Zamboanga City

Robie de Guzman   •   April 30, 2021   •   652

State security forces have intercepted a watercraft carrying P7.3 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in waters off Barangay Recodo in Zamboanga City, the Philippine Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) said.

The NFWM said elements from its Seaborne Patrol Units, Navy SEALS, intelligence operatives, and members of the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Customs seized the contraband that was loaded on MB Dream Boat on April 28.

The smuggled cigarettes were packed in 205 master cases and were loaded in a boat coming from Sulu.

The cigarettes bore brands like Cannon, Champion, New Far Gold, and New Far Green.

The boat had a crew of 10 who were escorted to Naval Station Romulo Espaldon.

“The crew underwent a medical check-up at Camp Navarro General Hospital and were all declared to be in good condition,” the NFWM said.

The apprehended individuals and the confiscated items were turned over to the custody of BOC Zamboanga District for proper disposition, it added.

Customs seizes P1 billion worth of counterfeit goods in Pasay

Robie de Guzman   •   December 2, 2021

Counterfeit goods estimated to be worth P1.1 billion were seized in an operation in Baclaran, Pasay City, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the BOC said the counterfeit items allegedly smuggled into the country were confiscated during an inspection on November 29.

“Armed with a Letter of Authority (LOA) issued by BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, the implementing team composed of personnel from the IG CIIS-IPRD, BOC-POM, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) inspected the warehouses located in Pasay City,” the bureau said.

“The inspection led to the discovery of possible Intellectual Property Right (IPR)-infringing goods and are suspected smuggled counterfeit goods,” it added.

The BOC said its conduct of initial inventory of goods revealed numerous items bearing the brands of Victoria’s Secret, Birkenstock, Lacoste, Converse, Nike, Adidas, Jordan, Havaianas, Barbie, and HP to name a few.

“Further investigation is underway for possible violation of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (RA 8293) and the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (RA 10863),” it added.

P3B revenues collected from pork imports under reduced tariff, increased MAV system

Robie de Guzman   •   November 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has posted collections amounting to P3 billion from swine meat imports under a reduced tariff system, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement, the DOF said that the BOC reported 197 million kilograms (kg) of pork imports from April 7 to Nov. 12 this year.

However, the bureau estimated that it has foregone some P3.4 billion in revenues as of November due to the decreased tariff scheme.

The reduced tariff system was implemented in the second quarter of this year to boost the supply of pork and stabilize its retail prices in the domestic market.

To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte had issued a series of executive orders (EOs) that took effect starting April 7 to lower pork import tariffs and increase the allowable import volumes of the meat to help stabilize the domestic supply and prices of this food staple for the benefit of Filipino consumers.

Executive Order (EO) No. 128, which lowered pork import tariffs to 5 percent within its minimum access volume (MAV) and 15 percent outside MAV for the first three months, was in effect from April 7 to May 14.

EO 134, which superseded EO 128, set tariffs on pork imports under the MAV to 10 percent for the first three months, and 15 percent in the next nine months.

For imports outside the MAV, the tariffs are 20 percent for the first three months and 25 percent in the succeeding nine months.

The one-year effectivity of EO 134 began on May 15, 2021.

“To compute for the effect of the two EOs, we multiplied the dutiable value of meat by 25 percent—less 5 percent and 15 percent—which were already paid for EO 128, and multiply the dutiable value by 20 percent and 15 percent for EO 134. The result showed a revenue loss of P3.4 billion,” BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said during a recent meeting with DOF.

Guerrero said the volume of pork imports started spiking in March and continuously grew in April to May, but dropped starting June.

The volume of pork imports in April, the month when the two EOs took effect, grew 500.46 percent, from 4.07 million kg in the same month last year to 24.45 million kg.

“This dramatic increase in pork import volumes continued in May, when a total of 36.5 million kg entered the country, representing a 506-percent hike from the 6.02 million kg imported during the same period in 2020,” the BOC said.

In June, the bureau said that pork imports reached 33.62 million kg, which was 531.39 percent more than the 5.32 million kg brought into the country during the same period last year.

“Pork imports continued its steady drop in July, when volumes totaled 31.18 million kg, which was 370.4 percent more than the 6.63 million kg, recorded in the same month of 2020,” it added.

The agency also noted that in August, pork imports increased 271.59 percent year-on-year, and dropped to 164.55 percent in September and 78.47 percent in October.

The volume of pork imports was 6.41 million kg in August 2020 and 23.82 million kg in August 2021; 9.73 million kg in September 2o20 and 25.73 million kg in September 2021; and 10.85 million kg in October 2020 and 19.36 million kg in October 2021.

From November 1-12, pork imports of 7.47 million kg were lower by 11.64 percent compared to last year’s 8.46 million for the same period.

PH Coast Guard sends supplies to residents of Pag-asa Island

Robie de Guzman   •   November 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday said it delivered fishing gears and basic supplies to Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan in Palawan over the weekend.

In a statement, PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo said they turned over the supplies to the local government of Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) in line with the efforts of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to support the operations of local fishermen in remote territories.

The PCG also ferried provisions for its personnel and policemen stationed on the island.

“Relieving personnel were also transported to provide sufficient rest period to deployed law enforcement teams which is necessary in upholding public health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Balilo said.

PCG Commandant, Admiral Leopoldo Laroya said their routine mission in the country’s maritime zones is part of the agency’s commitment to the government’s whole-of-nation approach in safeguarding national interests through rules-based and peaceful approach.

While on their way to Pag-asa Island, the PCG said it monitored a China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel approximately one to two nautical miles away from their vessel but it did not issue a radio challenge.

Pag-asa Island is located some 450 kilometers west of Palawan. It is home to a civilian community and a military outpost.

The presence of Chinese vessels near the island has been reported amid tensions between Manila and Beijing over territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea.

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