THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) has intensified its campaign against the illegal importation of “ukay-ukay” or used clothing amid reports of their rampant proliferation in various urban centers around the country.
Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena said on Monday that
millions of pesos worth of used clothing were seized by Customs operatives in the Ports of Manila, Cebu, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.
“We intercepted a lot of ukay-ukay shipments, including here in
Manila. We will present them for viewing as soon as I get hold of the official report,” Lapena told The Manila Times.
Former Port of La Union Collector Bonifacio de
Castro, a retired military general, said that the ukay-ukay
business in Baguio City and others parts of Northern Luzon was again flourishing by leaps and bounds since he and other former retired military officials left the BoC in 2016.
According to Bonifacio, truckloads of used clothing were being
delivered to Baguio City every week, adding that “the warehouses I raided before are again full of bales of used clothing by the hundreds and even thousands of them.
“Used clothing are openly sold at many ukay-ukay stores in
Baguio and in the night market om Harrison road,” he said,
adding that based on information from inside sources the used
clothing were entering in various Customs ports without any problem at all.
Republic Act (RA) 4653 prohibits the importation of used
clothing or rags to safeguard the health of the people and maintain the dignity of the nation. It is considered a health hazard, not even fit for donation.
Last March, tons of used clothing worth hundreds of millions
of pesos were uncovered by Customs intelligence operatives in four buildings in Cuneta Ave. Pasay City.
On April, P500 million worth of used clothing and rags were
also seized in several warehouses in Marilao, Bulacan.
On September, P5 million worth of ukay-ukay were also seized
at the Port of Cagayan de Oro.