Tara System in BOC still exists – Lacson

Maris Federez   •   May 29, 2019   •   1952

BOC shipments
File photo

Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed in his privilege speech the prevailing corruption in the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Lacson enumerated the illegal shipments that have entered the ports of Manila.

Among them is the shipment of garbage from Canada, and the five-ton garbage that South Korea exported to the Philippines in 2018.

The Senator said this is not the first time that other countries have dumped their garbage to the Philippines, making the country the official dumpsite of Southeast Asia.

Lacson also cited the series of illegal drugs shipments in the country despite the successive changes of leadership in the BOC.

These include the 6.4 billion pesos worth of Shabu that was discovered in Valenzuela City in May 2017; the 4-billion pesos worth of shabu discovered in an abandoned Vecaba shipment at the Manila International Container Port in August 2018; and another shipment of shabu worth one billion pesos in Malabon City last week.

It was at this point that Senator Lacson questioned the Customs officials and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as to why they resort to auctioning the illegal shipments as a means to lead the possible members of the syndicates to come out of hiding.

Lacson said in his speech, “The Bureau averred that it deliberately placed the shipment containing illegal drugs for auction, which was later bid out and won by Goldwin Commercial.  Let’s assume for a while that we are buying their story, the question is: is the BOC legally allowed to subject prohibited goods to public sale or auction?”

The Senator claimed that the Tara system in the agency still exists and that Customs officials are still getting paid for every shipment that gets into the country.

“For the Office of the Commissioner, an average of P5,000 per container plus 10% of the collections of each section/office directly under OCOM; P3,000 for Intelligence Group; P1,000 to P2,000 for the Enforcement Group; P3,000 for the Risk Management Office; and P2,000 to P3,000 for the Import and Assessment Service,” Lacson said.

He added, “The tara goes to various persons, for his office or the Office of the Commissioner, I will leave it to Gen. Guerrero to investigate and find out.”

He further said, “The MICP and POM district offices receive P3,000 per container. Each container with alert order may be charged as high as P50,000. Holy cow!”

Lacson, however, clarified that BOC Chief Rey Leonardo is not involved in the corruption in the agency he is leading, but the Senator pointed out that various factions in the BOC still continue to receive “tara.”

The Senator said that this should be a challenge to the new BOC chief to cleanse the agency from corruption. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

P4.2M worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in Zamboanga

Marje Pelayo   •   November 8, 2019

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Tuesday (November 5) seized P4.2 million worth of smuggled cigarettes at Urban Poor Drive, Tugbungan, Zamboanga City.

The items consisting of 143 master cases and 40 reams of Bravo Red Cigarettes from Malaysia, were discovered aboard a panel truck with temporary plate No. 090104.

The smuggled cigarettes and the truck were immediately turned over to the BOC for inventory and proper disposition.

Meanwhile, the suspects involved were turned over to Zamboanga Police Office Station 06 for investigation and for filing of possible charges.

District Collector Segundo Sigmundfreud Barte Jr. said in a statement that the agency’s intensified anti-smuggling operations under the marching orders of BOC Commissioner Rey Guerrero mainly contributed to the apprehension.

Barte said seizure of fake and smuggled products will protect the public from possible health risks these items pose.

BOC reiterates: Meat, pork imports need clearance before release

Robie de Guzman   •   November 6, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday reiterated that food imports such as meat and pork products must first be inspected and cleared before its release.

The BOC made the statement amid government efforts to prevent entry of food products that may contain diseases, particularly the African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country.

The bureau said that RepublicAct 10611 or the Food Safety Act of 2013 stipulates that “imported foods shall undergo cargo inspection and clearance procedures by the DA (Department of Agriculture) and the DOH (Department of Health) at the first port of entry to determine compliance with national regulations.”

The BOC added that this inspection will always be conducted prior to assessment for tariff and other charges.

To further ensure the safety of the public, the BOC said that boarding formalities on arriving vessels at any port entry are strictly conducted by the bureau and the Quarantine Officers of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

According to BOC Spokesperson and Assistant Commissioner Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla, all imported agricultural goods contained in reefer containers undergo initial examination by the DA.

These will then be inspected by the BAI, BPI and BFAR at their accredited warehouses.

“In case of meat products, reefer container is sealed by BAI prior to the release of said imports from the BOC. The sealed reefer container will be further examined 100% by the National Meat Inspection Service in its accredited storage warehouse,” the statement read.

BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero emphasized that the bureau is prompt in acting against derogatory reports of shipments that may contain smuggled goods and other contraband and is serious in enforcing the law and the proper procedures against imported pork and meat products from ASF-hit countries.

BOC seizes 2 containers of misdeclared steel from China

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Port of Manila on Tuesday seized a misdeclared steel shipment from China.

The BOC said the two containers filled with stainless angle bars were consigned to Liuzhiga International Trading.

The shipment, which arrived at the port on October 19, was misdeclared as flat bars and steel sheets according to BOC Intelligence Group deputy commissioner Raniel Ramiro in a statement.

“The IG-CIIS (Intelligence Group-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service) received a report on 22 October 2019 from a reliable source that a certain shipment might have violated the Customs laws by gross misdeclaration in quality-description of goods,” Ramiro said.

He said the BOC unit then coordinated with Port of Manila District Collector Arsenia Ilagan on Monday to inspect the shipment.

Upon examination, authorities found stainless angle bars and steel sheets inside the containers contrary to the declaration filed by the consignee.

The agency said the value of the seized goods has yet to be determined, as of press time.

The BOC issued alert order and Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the shipment for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

“Further investigation is being conducted by the BOC prior to filing of appropriate charges against the personalities involved in the smuggling of goods,” the bureau said.

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