Three (3) twenty-footer container vans of “ukay-ukay” (used clothing) worth PhP 4.5 million and suspected to be illegally imported from the United States of America (USA) were seized recently by alert operatives of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Sub-Port of North Harbor, Manila International Container Port (MICP) for violation of Section 2530 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), as amended, and Republic Act No. 4653 banning the importation of used clothing.
In the inspection of the seized “ukay-ukay” by Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon today (August 14, 2013), Biazon said the used clothing were misdeclared as Fishing Supplies by its shipper Dev’s Commercial to circumvent the law prohibiting the importation of used clothing. The three container vans of used clothing which were consigned to Isidro Enterprises of Iloilo City were intercepted at the Manila North Harbor on July 19, 2013.
“Under R.A 4653, the importation of “ukay-ukay” is banned to protect the health of the Filipinos and to preserve the Filipino dignity. This is the reason why the BOC is vigilant against smuggled used clothing in our ports, if only to secure the Filipino consumers from the risk of catching contagious diseases from contaminated smuggled used clothing smuggled from abroad.” Biazon said.
Aside from the health risks that come with the importation of used clothing, the local garment manufacturing industry is also complaining that the proliferation of “ukay-ukay” in the local market is affecting the viability of their industry. Some industry stakeholders blame the proliferation of “ukay-ukay” in the local market as one of the reasons for the folding up of some local garments manufacturing companies.
“ On an overall perspective, we are not only helping secure the health of Filipinos by apprehending all imported used clothing, but we are also helping secure the local garments manufacturing industry.” Biazon added.