Customs intensifies drive against technical smuggling

As part of BOCs step-up campaign against smugglers, BOC officials led by Cagayan de Oro District Collector Ruby Alameda (center), Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) Port Collector Samson Pacasum (right), and Intelligence Division Acting Chief Nestor Añonuevo (left) inspect the seized brand new Toyota Land Cruiser that arrived illegally through the MCT.

As part of BOCs step-up campaign against smugglers, BOC officials led by Cagayan de Oro District Collector Ruby Alameda (center), Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) Port Collector Samson Pacasum (right), and Intelligence Division Acting Chief Nestor Añonuevo (left) inspect the seized brand new Toyota Land Cruiser that arrived illegally through the MCT.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) intensifies its campaign against smuggling as it continues to seize undervalued, misdeclared, and misclassified shipments coming into the country.

“Our findings show that eight out of every ten shipments we place under Alert Order has findings of misdeclaration or undervaluation. But to put things in perspective, over 90% of the average 80,000 container vans that arrive in the country each month have no problems. Only a minority of importers and brokers are not complying with the laws,” says Customs Commissioner John P. Sevilla.

“We will not apologize for doing our job.”

In past days, operatives of the Bureau’s Enforcement and Intelligence Groups seized several shipments that had been found to be technically smuggled. These include an estimated P1 million worth of illegally imported ‘ukay-ukay’ items and garlic that arrived at the Manila international Container Port (MICP) last August. The “ukay-ukay,” consigned to a Sparta Biotekhnological Solutions, comprised 342 boxes of used clothes, shoes, toys and office equipment like calculators that was misdeclared as door window frames. On the other hand, two 40-foot container vans of garlic consigned to Ocean Eighteen Enterprises were seized for lack of the required import permit and phytosanitary clearance from the Bureau of Plant Industry.

An operative of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service of the Bureau of Customs inspects sacks of used handbags seized at the Mindanao Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

An operative of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service of the Bureau of Customs inspects sacks of used handbags seized at the Mindanao Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

The Bureau also seized over 30 container vans of smuggled shipments containing various items ranging from agricultural products like rice and garlic to ‘chop-chop’ vehicles to television sets and computer parts with an estimated value of P40-Million at the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagolon, Misamis Oriental.

The container vans comprised 19 shipments that were subjected to alert orders by the BOC based on derogatory information. Upon spot-checking, it was found out that the contents of these were misdeclared. Some of the seized shipments include 10,800 bags of Thai White Rice; 705 brand new sheet piles; 2 units brand new Toyota Land Cruiser sports utility vehicle; 6,000 units of used television sets of late models and old computer parts; cooking oil; porcelain jars of various sizes; over 500 packages of used clothing, bedsheets, and handbags; used tires and wheel rims of various sizes; and 27 units of ‘chop-chop’ vehicles (Honda Fit, Suzuki Multi-Cab, etc.). The cargoes arrived in the country from December 2013 to September 2014 and consigned to the following: ERS Surplus Ventures, Daebak Wholesale Corporation, Esther David Trading, Gwear Jam Imports Trading, GNA Eximport Trading, Squareview Trading Corporation, Greener Pasture Marketing, TSJ CDO Corporation, Psalms Eight Trading, Malingas Multipurpose Cooperative, Algaba Trading, and Mamsar Construction and Industrial Corporation.

Warrants of Seizure and Detention were issued by the Bureau against these smuggled shipments for violation of Section 2503 (Undervaluation, Misclassification and Misdeclaration in Entry) of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines. All of the seized items will be subjected to forfeiture proceedings in favor of the government. Follow-up operations are now on going to identify and file cases against the erring importers and traders.