Customs releases 400K doses of donated Sinovac vaccines from NAIA

Robie de Guzman   •   March 25, 2021   •   421

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday said it has facilitated the clearance and release of 400,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines donated by China from the port of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

In a statement, the BOC said the second batch of Sinovac vaccine donations was cleared for release a day after it arrived in Manila.

The first 600,000 doses of vaccine arrived last February 28, which was welcomed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero assured the public that the BOC will continue to expedite the processing, clearance, and release of Covid-19 vaccines and related shipments amid the rapid surge of infections in the country.

The BOC-NAIA also committed to further strengthen collaborations with other agencies – the Department of Health (DOH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – to ensure that only safe and registered Covid-19 related goods will be cleared and process to protect the public.

The country is expecting to receive almost 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of the month through the government’s negotiations with Sinovac and through the WHO-led COVAX Facility.

One million of which are procured from China’s Sinovac, while the remaining 979,200 doses are the additional  AstraZeneca doses donated through COVAX Facility.

P7.3 million worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in waters off Zamboanga City

Robie de Guzman   •   April 30, 2021

State security forces have intercepted a watercraft carrying P7.3 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in waters off Barangay Recodo in Zamboanga City, the Philippine Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) said.

The NFWM said elements from its Seaborne Patrol Units, Navy SEALS, intelligence operatives, and members of the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Customs seized the contraband that was loaded on MB Dream Boat on April 28.

The smuggled cigarettes were packed in 205 master cases and were loaded in a boat coming from Sulu.

The cigarettes bore brands like Cannon, Champion, New Far Gold, and New Far Green.

The boat had a crew of 10 who were escorted to Naval Station Romulo Espaldon.

“The crew underwent a medical check-up at Camp Navarro General Hospital and were all declared to be in good condition,” the NFWM said.

The apprehended individuals and the confiscated items were turned over to the custody of BOC Zamboanga District for proper disposition, it added.

Customs destroys P50-million worth of smuggled cigarettes in Zamboanga

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

 

Operatives from the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Zamboanga destroyed some P50 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in a warehouse in Barangay Baliwasan.

The BOC said the smuggled cigarettes destroyed on April 13 were seized in separate operations since December 2020.

The bureau, together with representatives from different partner agencies, destroyed more than 1,278 master cases and 513 reams of cigarettes.

The seized cigarettes were crushed by payloader equipment in an outdoor yard, soaked with used oil to prevent recycling, dispersed with water by firemen, and disposed of in the sanitary landfill in Brgy. Salaan, it added.

The destruction and disposal of cigarettes is reported to be the first condemnation activity of the Port for this year.

The condemnation ceremony was witnessed by the local government unit, heads of partner law enforcement agencies, a representative from the Commission on Audit, Department of Health, and stakeholders, the BOC said.

“The immediate destruction and disposal of such contrabands was a firm directive from Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero to promote transparency and remove doubts of corruption, theft, or pilferage in the agency,” it added.

BOC, BIR to start field testing enforcement on fuel products on April 26

Marje Pelayo   •   April 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) have announced their intention to begin Field Testing Enforcement activities on fuel products beginning April 26.

The testing covers gasoline, diesel, and kerosene found in warehouses, storage tanks, gas stations, other retail outlets, and in such other properties, to check if they contain the required Fuel Marker level.

Vessels, tank trucks, and similar fuel transporting vehicles will also be covered by the enforcement activities.

Under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, petroleum products found without the Official Fuel Marker or not containing the required level of the Official Fuel Marker are subject to payment of duties and taxes, as well as appropriate fines and penalties.

The payment is without prejudice to the confiscation and forfeiture of such Unmarked or Diluted Fuel and the filing of the appropriate criminal case.

The Field Testing process will be done using Mobile Laboratory Units equipped with analyzers capable of detecting the Official Fuel Marker’s presence in any fuel sample.

The test result will be generated on-site and will indicate a pass or fail result. Products with failed results will be subjected to Confirmatory Testing in the Fuel Testing Facility.

For purposes of transparency, the owner of the fuel or his representative will be allowed to witness the Field and Confirmatory Testing.

The two Bureaus began the Transitory Field Testing activities in February this year and will continue until April 26, 2021.

Under the Transitory Field Testing, sample fuels from retail stations and tank trucks in the National Capital Region (NCR) and nearby provinces were tested to determine the marker levels in the fuel supply available in the domestic market.

The Fuel Marking Program aims to raise revenues while curbing fuel smuggling and leveling the Philippine oil industry.

Beginning its implementation in September 2019 to December 2020, the BOC and BIR marked a total of 17.55 billion liters of fuel and have collected Php171.72 billion in duties and taxes under the program.

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