ALERT operatives of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) in the Port of Batangas have seized millions of pesos worth of smuggled frozen Peking ducks from Hong Kong recently.
CIIS-Batangas officer-in-charge Manolo Arevalo on Thursday said the shipment was outright seizureable in favor of the government because it lacked the required importation permit from the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and its consignee was found to be fictitious.
The hot cargo — of approximately 3,000 pieces of frozen Peking ducks —were contained in 500 boxes.
Arevalo explained that even if the shipment has complied with all the importation requirements, it is still subject to automatic seizure as all meat importation from Hong Kong is prohibited.
“Peking duck importation is not only prohibited but is banned by the Philippine government because of the existence of the bird flu virus from its country of origin,” Arevalo told The Manila Times.
Records show that the shipment arrived at Batangas port from Hong Kong on January 17. It was loaded in a 20-footer refrigerated van and declared as frozen meat.
It was consigned to Get Enterprises, which was found to be fictitious following verification by the CIIS-Batangas team.
Batangas Collector Reynaldo Galeno has issued a warrant of seizure and detention (WSD) on the shipment upon the recommendation of Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Jessie Dellosa and Arevalo.
Dellosa said the importer violated Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines for being a non accredited importer of the NMIS and also of Customs Memorandum Order 8-2007.
According to Arevalo, no one has filed entry for the shipment even as he stressed that there is no way the shipment could be released from the customs zone. Instead, the hot meats would be burned and buried because of high probability that it is contaminated with the avian flu virus.
“These smugglers, aside from defrauding the government of rightful tax revenue and exposing the public to possible health risks, also harmed the country’s farmers, depriving them of income as these agricultural products are sold cheap in the market,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dellosa has ordered an investigation to determine the real owner of the banned shipment for appropriate filing of charges.