• NEW BOC CHIEF LAPEÑA:

    70% of illegal drugs slip past Customs

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    NEWLY appointed Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said on Tuesday 70 percent of illegal drugs that enter the country pass through Customs various seaports.

    Lapeña said he got hold of the information from nationwide monitoring when he was director general of the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

    “There were reports we received when I was with PDEA that 70 percent of illegal drugs pass through the seaports of the Bureau of Customs,” Lapeña said in a news briefing.

    He pointed out that because of the President’s war against illegal drugs, a substantial number of shabu laboratories in the country have been dismantled, while some were intentionally abandoned by their operators.

    But Lapeña said the supply of drugs is still there, and this was drugs is still there, and this was likely because these were delivered by suppliers on the high seas, later passing the seaports.

    “Drug syndicates came up with a way to deliver shabu, they call it bulk shipment. The information we got aside from the 604 kilos that passed through Customs, there were earlier shipments already,” he added.

    He was referring to the May shipment of P6.4 billion worth of shabu that passed through Customs undetected, which became the subject of congressional investigations.

    Lapeña vowed to stop the use of ports as entry points of drugs in the country, saying that it would also cut the supply of illegal drugs by 70 percent.

    He said that under his watch, only qualified companies would be allowed to use the customs’ green lane to prevent a repeat of the P6.4-billion shabu shipment consigned to EMT Trading, a newly established firm.

    “We will execute measures that imported drugs will not pass through the Customs undetected,” he added. “This time those that will be passing the green lane are those whose transactions are beyond question, like those of big businesses,” he said.

    “As head of Customs, I think we can improve on this very, very much. I think one of the reasons why I am here is to address that problem, address the drug problem through seaports, through the Bureau of Customs. It will be a big reduction in the supply of drugs,” he added.

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