Smuggling cases filed vs counterfeit goods trader

Smuggling cases filed vs counterfeit goods trader

The owner of a trading firm engaged in the importation of counterfeit goods and its customs broker face smuggling-related charges for the illegal entry of various fake products filed by the Bureau of Customs before the Department of Justice.

Noel Villaflor, owner and proprietor of NSGV Trading; and customs broker Sherjun Saldon have been charged with violating the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, in relation to the importation of fake products which violates Republic Act (RA) 8293, or the Intellectual Property (IP) Code of the Philippines. In addition, Villaflor and Saldon are charged with violating the Revised Penal Code for falsifying public documents.

The case stemmed from NGSV’s importation of one (1) 40-foot container that arrived at the Manila International Container Port from China in May 2014. The shipment, composed of 600 cartons of what was declared to contain assorted women’s blouses; cotton fabric; polyester women’s pants, jackets, coats and scarves; board paper; ladies’ canvas shoes; PVC flooring; assorted plastic cases and boxes; belts and caps; skateboards; skateboard parts; compactor parts; and aluminum ladder and grinders were found to contain 15,960 assorted undeclared items, many of which were counterfeit or “Class A” luxury bag models like the “Hermes Evelyne” and “Hermes Lindy; “Ralph Lauren Ricky”; “Tory Burch Ella” tote; “Prada Saffiano Lux” tote; “Celine Phantom”; “Michael Kors Selma” satchel and “Michael Kors Jet Set” tote and the “Burberry Susana” hobo tote. Also found were fake “Fitflop Fleur” sandals’ “Lacoste” wallets and tote bags; “Ray-Ban” eyewear; as well as clothing and footwear bearing local brands “Onesimus” and “Una Rosa.” Total estimated value was pegged at over P300-Million.

“We have been in close coordination with the brand owners, IPOPHL and other government agencies to step-up our drive against fake products. It is our duty and responsibility to protect our consumers from the entry of products that may bring health hazards or cause harm to legitimate entrepreneurs and businesses,” said Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla.

The Bureau has been working closely with the multi-agency IP taskforce National Committee on Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) to improve seizures and apprehensions of counterfeit traders. NCIPR is composed of Department of Justice (DOJ), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the Optical Media Board (OMB), Philippine National Police (PNP), Food and Drug Administration(FDA), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), National Book Development Board (NBDB), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crime (OSETC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).

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SUMMARY OF THE CASE

 

IMPORTER NSGV TRADING
RESPONDENTS
  • NOEL S. VILLAFLOR, Owner/Proprietor of NSGV TRADING, with office address at 2229 Tomas Mapua St., Brgy. 357, Zone 036, Sta. Cruz, Manila
  • SHERJUN N. SALDON, licensed customs broker of NSGV TRADING, with address at Rm. 449 Padilla de los Reyes Bldg., Juan Luna St., Binondo, Manila
VIOLATIONS 1.     Sections 3601 and 101 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), as amended, in relation to Section 166 of Republic Act 8293 (Intellectual Property Code)

2.     Sections 3602 and 2503 of the TCCP, as amended

3.     Article 172 in relation to Articles 171 and 183 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines (RPC)

GOODS 1 x 40’ container van declared as apparel and other items, but found to contain various counterfeit goods, with labels: Hermes Bags/Pants/Sandals, Louis Vuitton Bags/Shoes, Gucci Shoes, Michael Kors Bags, Tory Burch Bags/Shoes, Calvin Klein Bags, Prada Bags/Jacket, Kipling Bags, Lacoste Bags, Mango Bags, Longchamp Bags, Zara Bags, Burberry Bags/Pants, Kate Spade Bags. Chanel Bags, Ralph Lauren Bags, Celine Bags, Fendi Bags, Una Rosa Shoes
DATE & PORT OF ARRIVAL May 13, 2014; Manila International Container Port
ESTIMATED MARKET VALUE Over P 300-Million

*The value was provided by the brand owners to IPOPHL, based on the price of the original goods.

PORT OF ORIGIN China
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On Q2 2014 GDP growth

Statement of Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima on Q2 2014 GDP growth


“The second quarter GDP growth of 6.4% demonstrates the increasing resiliency and diversity of the Philippine economy with varied sectors of the economy leading our growth.

“While consumption was is the traditional driver of growth in the Philippines growing 5.3% this quarter, exports took the lead with a robust 10.3% growth. On the supply side, industry grew at 7.8%, of which manufacturing led with 10.8% growth, compensating for the slower growth in construction. Agriculture also grew at 3.6%, rebounding from its Q2 2013 contraction of -0.2%, and the previous quarter’s 0.9% growth.

“This is positive news for our country as the second quarter figure shows the potential of the Philippines to sustain inclusive economic development as new sectors of the economy begin to pick up speed. But, we can do better.

“We are confident the fundamentals of rapid growth are in place and some adjustments in government disbursements will bring growth to a higher path

.

“To realize our potential to grow even faster, President Aquino’s administration will continue to focus efforts on institutionalizing good governance reforms including but not limited to Fiscal Incentives Rationalization, Tax Incentives Monitoring and Transparency Act, shortening the Foreign Investments Negative List, and the Amendments to the Build Operate Transfer Law that will support our already successful Public Private Partnership program.

“For example, we recently signed into law the liberalization of banks to allow 100% foreign ownership. These are all steps in the right direction as we continue on the right path of increasing investments in infrastructure and in our people, thus addressing bottlenecks to our growth and realizing the full potential of the Philippines.

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Customs cracks-down on Baguio ‘ukay-ukay’

Customs cracks-down on Baguio ‘ukay-ukay’

 

The Bureau of Customs seized almost 2,800 bales of used clothing, comforters and other garments worth at least P22-Million in nine separate warehouse units in Baguio City on Tuesday (September 2, 2014). The used clothing, mostly branded apparel from the United States and Canada, are believed to have entered the country through locators at the Subic and Clark Freeport zones as well as the Cavite Export Processing Zone in Rosario, Cavite as scrap fabric intended for manufacture and subsequent export as rags.

An investigation by the Bureau’s Intelligence Group, however, found that certain locators inside economic zones use their privilege to import raw materials tax-free to smuggle used clothing in the guise of scrap fabric. These locators then sell the used clothing dealers who then supply local ‘ukay-ukay’ business owners.

Export Manufacturing Enterprises registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and located at PEZA Zones are allowed tax-free and duty-free importation of raw materials, capital equipment, machineries and spare parts. They are also exempted frompaying wharfage dues and export tax, impost or fees.

However, Republic Act Number 4653 (An Act to Safeguard the Health of the People and Maintain the Dignity of the Nation by Declaring it a National Policy to Prohibit the Commercial Importation of Textile Articles Commonly Known as Used Clothing and Rags), which has been in effect since 1966, bans the commercial importation of used clothing.

“While times may have changed, it is the duty of the Bureau of Customs like any other law enforcement agency of the government to implement RA 4653, not bend it even for practicalities’ sake. Moreover, we need to ensure that legitimate stakeholders in the local garments industry are protected from unscrupulous and illegal importations of clothing. What makes this situation worse is that we have found evidence that certain locators granted fiscal privileges by our government have abused these perks,” said Bonifacio De Castro, District Collectors of the Bureau of Customs in San Fernando, La Union.

The seized used clothing will be subjected to seizure and later, forfeiture proceedings in favor of the government. Follow-up operations will commence to identify and file cases against the erring importers and traders.

The proliferation of entrepreneurs selling used clothes or ‘ukay-ukay’ over the years had adversely affected local garments and clothing industry, eating into the profitability and competitiveness of many retailers and manufacturers.

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Thousands to take Customs pre-employment exam on August 29

Thousands to take Customs pre-employment exam on August 29

 

A total of 4,755 applicants at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) will be taking the general ability and competency exam to be administered by the Civil Service Commissioner (CSC) on August 31, 2014 (Sunday). The examinees include current BOC employees who have applied for promotion and new applicants who are aspiring for the 1,056 positions at the Bureau’s main office and various collection districts throughout the country.

Eighty-eight percent (88%) of the examinees applied for non-supervisory positions and 12% for supervisory or managerial positions. About 75% of the total number of examinees are taking the exam in Metro Manila.

The exam, to be administered by the CSC, will be held at the following locations: St. Joseph’s College of Quezon City (E. Rodriguez Ave, Quezon City); St. Theresa’s College (D. Tuazon St., Lourdes, Santa Mesa Heights, Quezon City); Siena College of Quezon City (Del Monte Ave., San Francisco Del Monte, Quezon City); Angelicum College (112 M.J. Cuenco St. Bgy Sto. Domingo, Quezon City); St. Theresa’s College of Cebu City (Juana Osmeña St, Cebu City); and the University of Mindanao-Matina Campus (Matina Crossing, Davao City).

Examinees must be at their designated testing centers at least one hour before the time of the examination which will begin at exactly 8:00am on August 31. They are required to bring valid identification cards and other pertinent documents, ballpens and pencils.

Examinees that pass the first exam will move to the second round of tests, this time focused on specific exams to determine whether the candidate has the right qualifications and is fit for the position they are applying for.

Further information is posted in the websites of the Bureau of Customs www.customs.gov.ph; the Department of Finance (www.dof.gov.ph); and the Official Gazette (www.gov.ph). Applicants can also visit the Facebook page of the Department of Finance for updates.

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Customs files charges vs steel smugglers

Customs files charges vs steel smugglers

 

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) filed charges before the Department of Justice against the owners and customs brokers of two firms for allegedly illegally importing steel products into the country.

Smuggling-related cases were filed against Tessie Ligon, owner and proprietress of Archer Blaze Marketing, with offices located at U-9 E.B. Santos Commercial Building, National Road cor. P. Navarro, Paltao, Pulilan, Bulacan; and the firm’s customs broker, Aloha Pamintuan, with address at Rm. 326-330 Regina Building, 410 Escolta, Manila; Renato Supan Miranda, owner and proprietor of Echo Titan Marketing Resources, with offices at B12 L12 St. Jude Street, Marvi Hills Subdivision, Brgy. Gulod Malaya, San Mateo, Rizal; and Echo Titan’s customs broker, Junnil Andujar Rollon, with address at Sitio Tarcom, Upper Laguerta, Busay, Cebu City.

Ligon, Pamintuan, Miranda, and Rollon face charges of violating the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines for unlawful importation and the fraudulent filing of import documents under Sections 3601 and 3602 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines. They are also facing charges for alleged violation of the Bureau of Product Standards Law for the attempt of a non-holder of an Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) to import steel products without proper certification, and the Revised Penal Code for falsification of documents. In addition, Miranda and Rollon are also facing additional charges for alleged misdeclaration of the weight and value of their shipments in violation of Section 2503 of the Tariff and Customs Code.

“The country imports a significant amount of steel products and there strong demand for these. But we cannot be lax and allow uncertified steel products to enter the local market. Part of our mandate is to protect our people from cheap but unsafe products that could pose a risk to life and limb,” said Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla.

Based on the complaint affidavit submitted by the BOC’s Intelligence Group, investigators found that Archer Blaze submitted fake documents including fake Conditional Release Permits of the Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Product Standards (DTI-BPS) to facilitate the firm’s importation of 47 20-foot containers of angle bars from China with a total value of P38.741-Million.

Attached to the permits was a fake letter supposedly from DTI-BPS addressed to Port of Manila Acting District Collector Mario Mendoza attesting to the authenticity of the Conditional Releases issued. The shipments arrived through the Port of Manila in four batches last June 10 and 14, 2014.

In the second case, Echo Titan misdeclared the product they imported as ‘steel round bars’ from China. However, upon inspection, customs examiners discovered that the shipment contained various steel products of various sizes including stainless steel flat bars, stainless steel angle bars, and stainless steel round bars.

Import documents also showed grossly misdeclaration of the weight and value of the goods inside one 40-foot and one 20-foot container vans in order to evade payment of the correct duties and taxes.

The quantity of the products imported by Echo Titan was also misdeclared by as much as 33%. The import documents declared a quantity of 35,010 for the two containers, with Dutiable Value declared at P1.235-Million with total Duties and Taxes of P248,122.92. Upon inspection, it was found out that the actual weight of the shipment was 52,100 kgs or a discrepancy of 17,090 kgs. With the discovery, Dutiable Value was adjusted and is now at P5.577-Million with the total Duties and Taxes now amounting to P1.113-Million.

The smuggling attempt was foiled on the basis of Alert Orders issued by the BOC’s Intelligence Group.

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