PH sends back over 2,600 tons of wastes to South Korea

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2020   •   453

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has shipped back to South Korea some 2,676 metric tons (MT) of waste materials that were stored at the PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority premises in Misamis Oriental since 2018.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the shipment was part of the 5,176.91 MT that the South Korean government committed to help send back to their country after these were illegally exported to the Philippines in July 2018.

The waste materials consist of plastic synthetic flakes that were illegally imported by the Cebu-based Verde Soko Philippines Industrial Corp.

Guerrero said the garbage was shipped back in 151 forty-footer containers.

The first batch of 51 containers was re-exported to Korea on Jan. 25, 2019, followed by another shipment of 50 containers on Jan. 15 this year.

A third batch consisting of 50 containers was shipped to Korea last March 21.

“The re-exportation took some time because the wastes have been exposed to natural elements of heat and rain, which made it difficult to re-bag and stuff inside the containers,” Guerrero said in his report.

The remaining 2,500 MT of wastes were initially scheduled to be shipped back in March but it was delayed due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), according to Guerrero.

The community quarantine has forced most people to stay in their homes as the operation of public transportation and classes in schools were suspended. Most government offices have implemented a skeleton force while other employees were ordered to work from their homes.

“Rest assured that the Bureau will undertake all the necessary means, within the bounds of the law, in order to expedite the re-exportation of these wastes,” Guerrero said.

DOF: P244-M worth of smuggled PPEs, medical supplies seized by Customs from March to May

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has confiscated P244-million worth of smuggled, unregistered or counterfeit personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies from March 25 to May 31, 2020, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Friday.

In a statement, the DOF said the seizure is part of the BOC’s efforts to stop the illegal importation, storage and hoarding of goods deemed essential to the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the BOC said that while it has released various regulations to facilitate and speed up the process of importing PPEs and other medical supplies, some unscrupulous traders have taken advantage of the coronavirus-induced crisis to smuggle such items into the country.

In his report, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said he has issued 10 Letters of Authority covering the inspection of persons and premises suspected of selling or storing smuggled and/or unregistered medicines and equipment from March 25 to May 31 this year.

“Moreover, profiling/targeting of imported shipments suspected to contain contraband and other smuggled articles were intensified. As a result a total of P244.4 million-worth of smuggled/counterfeit/unregistered PPE and medicines were seized by the Bureau,” Guerrero added.

Last May 1, various PPEs, and P70-million worth of Chinese medicines that supposedly cure COVID-19 were seized by the BOC in a warehouse in Singalong, Manila.

Guerrero said in his report that the medicines, which were contained in about 360 boxes, were not registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The BOC chief also said that they have seized other medical supplies in various operations including the following:

  • P5 million worth of masks, gloves, goggles, alcohol, thermal scanners, test tubes and syringes under the name of Philmed Dynasty Supplies Corp. based in Binondo, Manila;
  • An estimated P30 million-worth of various PPEs, such as gloves, masks, and googles under the name of ELJ1 Medical Shop based in Sta. Cruz, Manila; and
  • An estimated P9 million-worth of various PPEs, such as gloves, masks, goggles from the Medical Outlet based in Rizal Avenue, Manila.
  • An estimated P80 million-worth of various PPEs, such as gloves, masks, goggles, medicines, and foodstuffs from an establishment located at HK Sun Plaza, Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City.
  • An estimated P400,000-worth of various medical supplies and medicines from Ton Ren Tang Chinese Medication, Binondo, Manila.
  • An estimated P50 million-worth of various medical equipment and supplies from Omnibus Biomedical Systems.

“The cases involving these smuggled or unregistered products are now the subject of forfeiture proceedings by the BOC before the law division of the Manila International Container Port (MICP),” Guerrero said.

Aside from these items, the BOC also reported that it seized 2.2 kilograms of imported Chinese medicines without FDA clearance last April 27, and has initiated the filing of appropriate charges against their importers and consignees.

Another five boxes of Chinese medicines containing 48,000 medicinal tablets and bundled with 238 master cases of assorted imported cigarettes; 4 drums of toluene-2.4 diisocyanate; 2 drums of propylene glycol; 2 drums of glycerol-propoxylate-block-ethoxylate; 2 drums of vacuum pump oil; 2 drums of paraffin oil; 2 drums of power steering fluid; 1 drum of sodium hypochlorite; and 2 drums of siloxane were confiscated from a warehouse in Valenzuela City last April 30.

Guerrero said these were seized and taken into custody by the BOC for failure of the owner to present the required import documents for these items.

South Korean city returns to tighter social distancing as coronavirus cases spike

UNTV News   •   July 3, 2020

South Korea reported 63 new coronavirus cases as of Thursday (July 2), most from domestic infections outside Seoul, triggering the return of tighter social distancing curbs in one city as the spectre of a second wave of the disease worried authorities.

For the first time in almost two months, new daily cases from other cities surpassed those from Seoul area. The southwestern city of Gwangju has recorded more than 50 cases the past few days, prompting the suspension of operations at public facilities such as libraries and museums.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a meeting on Friday (July 3) that the government is seeking ways to support Gwangju city and immediately upgraded its social distancing guidelines.

The recent spikes are concerning as new clusters are emerging in wide range of areas, making it harder for epidemiological surveys. But with the case numbers still manageable, local governments will each decide whether to upgrade their guidelines, Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told a briefing.

The new cases took South Korea’s tally to 12,967 with 282 deaths by midnight on Thursday. (Reuters)

(Production: Hyunyoung Yi)

Undeclared watches, commercial goods worth P1.1-M seized at NAIA – BOC

Robie de Guzman   •   July 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Various branded watches and other commercial goods estimated to worth P1.1 million were seized at the port of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Thursday.

In a statement, the BOC said the undeclared items were confiscated on June 29. These were part of a consolidated shipment from the United States of America labeled as “personal effects.”

The seized goods include branded watches such as Michael Kors, Fossils, Anne Klein, Charriol, Invicta, Kate Spade, Diesel and Tommy, as well as bags, wallets, shoes — all in commercial quantity, the bureau said.

The items were intercepted after the shipment underwent X-Ray inspection.

The BOC-NAIA said it has issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the confiscated goods for violation of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The bureau added the case records shall also be referred to the Bureau’s Action Team Against Smugglers (BATAS) for a possible criminal complaint against the personalities behind the foiled smuggling attempt.

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