The Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Tuesday beefed up its force by deploying more examiners at the premier airport’s warehouses and departure areas to make sure that endangered species will not be smuggled out of the country.
“The purpose of deploying additional examiners in those particular areas is to discourage exporters from shipping endangered species outside the Philippines,” Customs District III Collector Edgar Macabeo said.
He added that posting examiners and agents would also prevent passengers, who may be conniving with some unscrupulous airport employees, from smuggling out Philippine animals.
The additional personnel would carefully examine pertinent papers and physically inspect shipments, Macabeo said.
Last week, the Customs Export Division (CED) seized some 47 live endangered species placed in five styropor boxes declared as aquatic plants.
The boxes were bound for Japan.
CED chief Rey Gatchalian said the division is implementing strict policies in checking documents of cargos leaving the country.
Macabeo recalled that in August 2012, over a hundred freshwater turtles and other species seized by Hong Kong wildlife authorities from a Chinese passenger upon his arrival at the former British Crown Colony were returned to the Philippines.
He said the cargo contained 39 forest turtles, 49 Asian box turtles, 19 Mindanao water monitors and a reticulated python.