Eight out of every 10 shipments subject to an Alert Order in a recent anti-smuggling campaign were found to be misdeclared or undervalued, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said on Friday.
In a statement, the bureau said it has intensified its campaign against smuggling as it continues to seize undervalued, misdeclared, and misclassified shipments coming into the country.
Between June and August this year, operatives of the BOC’s Enforcement and Intelligence Groups seized several shipments that had been found to be technically smuggled, BOC public information chief Charo Logarta-Lagamon said in a text message.
These included an estimated P1 million worth of illegally imported “ukay-ukay” items and garlic that arrived at the Manila international Container Port (MICP) in August.
The “ukay-ukay,” consigned to a Sparta Biotekhnological Solutions, consisted of 342 boxes of used clothes, shoes, toys, and small office equipment like calculators in a shipment that was misdeclared as door and window frames.
The bureau also reported that two 40-foot container vans of garlic consigned to Ocean Eighteen Enterprises were seized for lack of the required import permit and phytosanitary clearance from the Bureau of Plant Industry.
In addition, the BOC said it seized over 30 container vans of smuggled shipments containing various items ranging from agricultural products like rice and garlic, “chop-chop,” or salvaged vehicles, television sets and computer parts with an estimated combined value of P40 million at the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagolon, Misamis Oriental.
“The container vans comprised 19 shipments that were subjected to alert orders by the BOC based on derogatory information. Upon spot-checking, it was found out that the contents of these were misdeclared,” the BOC said.
The bureau said that it has issued Warrants of Seizure and Detention against these smuggled shipments for violation of Section 2503 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.
“All of the seized items will be subjected to forfeiture proceedings in favor of the government. Follow-up operations are now ongoing to identify and file cases against the erring importers and traders” it added.
On a positive note, Customs Commissioner John Sevilla said over 90 percent of the average 80,000 container vans that arrive in the country each month have no problems.
“Only a minority of importers and brokers are not complying with the laws,” he said.