BOC seizes P15 million worth of PPEs suspected to be smuggled in Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   April 1, 2020   •   880

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday said it has seized P15 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) suspected to be smuggled in a series of operations in Manila.

The BOC said the PPEs were confiscated from three shops in Sta. Cruz, Manila that were jointly raided by the agents of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday, March 31.

Authorities recovered various PPEs, including gloves, face masks (surgical and N95), and goggles that are suspected to have been misdeclared as general merchandise when imported into the country.

“Smuggled PPE may pose a health risk to users since such items may not comply with the safety standards set by the government rendering them not fit for human utilization,” the bureau said in a statement.

The BOC said the inventory of said products is ongoing, while store owners were given 15 days to present necessary documents to prove that the items were legally imported.

“If proven that the PPEs were smuggled the store owners may face charges of smuggling in relation to the provisions of The Customs Modernization Act (CMTA),” the BOC said.

“Although the Bureau is focused in expediting the importation of PPE and other medical supplies badly needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency is also committed in ensuring that goods are within acceptable standards and are safe for the public use,” it added.

The BOC recently raided a shop allegedly selling PPE and alcohol at exorbitant prices online amid high demand for such medical supplies.

4 kilograms of shark teeth seized in Mactan, Cebu

Marje Pelayo   •   September 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) reported the seizure of a parcel containing 4.98 kilograms of extracted shark teeth misdeclared as plastic components for fashion accessories.

The shipment, which was seized in BOC Cebu-Subport of Mactan on Tuesday (August 31), was discovered through x-ray imaging which prompted the X-Ray inspection project team (XIP) to mark it for further verification.

Accordingly, BOC authorities conducted a physical examination on the parcel together with representatives from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and DHL Express Cebu.

The BFAR representative confirmed the contents of the parcel to be shark teeth and not plastic components as declared and records show the shipment had no import permit issued by BFAR.

Acting District Collector Charlito Martin Mendoza immediately issued a warrant of seizure and detention against the shipment.

The seized articles will be disposed of in accordance with existing customs laws and regulations after undergoing seizure and forfeiture proceedings.

Quarantine fatigue, possible cause of complacency in following minimum health standards — expert

Maris Federez   •   September 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A health expert believes that the drop in the number of Filipinos observing minimum health protocols, compared to previous months, is due to quarantine fatigue.

In a virtual briefing on Wednesday (Sept.1), Dr. Karl Henson of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (PSMID) said that aside from the highly transmissible Delta variant, quarantine fatigue is a very likely cause that led to the current surge of coronavirus disease.

“That is very possible po we have been dealing with the pandemic since the beginning of 2020. Pinapa-stay natin ang mga tao sa bahay as much as we can. Yung mga bata nasa bahay lang, yung matatanda rin,” Henson said.

“Hindi po mahirap isipin na pagod na pagod na ang tao sa mga public health measures na ito,” he added.

Henson pointed out, however, that this is not the time to be complacent.

“Kaya, ngayon po na merong surge, I think, now is not the time po na mapapagod tayo. I think kailangan po natin ma-remind ulit ang mga tao na importanteng importante po ang pagsunod sa pagsuot ng proper na PPE (personal protective equipment),” he said.

“Delta variant is very transmissible, mas madali po siyang maipasa kaya kailangan natin mag ingat,” he further noted.

Henson said that the amount of the Delta variant of the virus in the nose of an unvaccinated person is 1,000 times higher than its older versions.

“So kapag hindi properly suot ang face mask at face shield, mas madali talaga pong ipasa ang virus. Now, kung samahan pa po yun ng hindi proper yung physical distancing, hindi madalas maghugas ng kamay, so pwede po talagang kumalat nang mabilis ang virus,” he warned.

He said community transmission starts in the family where members become complacent as they mingle with each other sans facemasks and face shields.

Henson also underscored the importance of wearing face shields aside from having proper ventilation, wearing a mask, handwashing, and maintaining physical distancing in protecting one’s self against COVID-19, especially the Delta variant.

“Yung face shields po is actually an extra layer of protection. Habang wala pa po tayong masiyadong maraming datos, ang thought po ng government and experts is by wearing a face shield, meron kayong extra protection,” he said.

Henson said that studies in other countries show that face shields in addition to face masks is effective in preventing transmission of COVID.

“But it should not be face shield on its own. Kailangan po may facemask. Kasi mas importante po na matakapan ang ilong at ang bibig para po hindi malanghap yung COVID. Yung face shield is extra layer of protection lang po,” he said.

While Henson warned the public against complacency amid the pandemic, he also called on the Department of Health and other experts to review other evidence that comes out in responding to the dreaded respiratory virus.

“Sa DOH at sa mga eksperto, kailangan po sigurong ma-review ulit yung evidence baka po kasi may mga bago nang  datos that might help improve our recommendations para po mas madaling sumunod ang mga tao dito sa mga minimum public health standards na sinasabi natin,” he said.

Unmanifested container of mechanically separated chicken seized at Port of Cebu

Marje Pelayo   •   September 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) reported the seizure of a container of unmanifested goods that included uncooked mechanically separated chicken.

The shipment, which was identified to have originated from China, was intercepted at the Port of Cebu last Tuesday (August 24).

The container was flagged down after noting its exclusion from the vessel’s inward foreign manifest and stowage plan.

Also, the vessel failed to file a supplemental manifest within two days from the date of discharge of the last package as required by Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 15-2020.

The Port of Cebu initially issued a show cause order against the shipping line to which the latter replied explaining that the unmanifested container was intended to be loaded into a different vessel going to Cebu.

Due to a system glitch in the operational activities of the vessel, the container was inadvertently loaded and discharged at the Port of Cebu.

Acting district collector Charlito Martin Mendoza issued a warrant of seizure and detention against the shipment after finding probable cause for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The container was immediately subjected to physical examination to determine its contents and was found to contain uncooked mechanically separated chicken.

The seized goods will undergo seizure and forfeiture proceedings and will thereafter be disposed of in accordance with prevailing customs laws and regulations.


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