By BETHEENA KAE UNITE
The Bureau of Customs (BoC) seized yesterday some R36.5-million smuggled goods such as agricultural products, ukay-ukay, and cigarettes.
The smuggled items were discovered inside seven container vans during spot inspection of alerted shipments at the Manila International Container Port, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said in a press briefing.
The containers from China which arrived on separate dates at the Manila International Container Port were declared to contain non-woven interlining and women interlining, industrial fur, fresh apple, and household ware.
However, Lapeña confirmed that the actual contents found by the Customs authorities are very different from what was declared.
A total of 947 cartons of More cigarettes and 53 cartons of Marvels cigarettes, 950 boxes of Mighty cigarettes, boxes of apples mixed with onion, apples mixed with boxes of fresh carrots, and bales of ukay-ukay mixed with food without Food and Drug Administration (DFA) permit were uncovered.
“This is a reminder and warning to all consumer that these products did not undergo quality inspection conducted by the DFA so it could be harmful to the health of our consumer public,” Lapeña noted.
Further, the accreditation of the consignees – Trixcean Trading, Marid Industrial Marketing, Khalevskies Enterprises, Ashton & Ilyze Trading, and Yohann Rein Trading – will be revoked as well as their signing customs brokers, Lapeña added.
Cases for violation of Section 1400 (Misdeclaration, Misclassification, Undervaluation in Goods Declaration) in relation to Section 1113 (Property Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture) of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act will be filed against the consignees and brokers.
Trixcean and Marid will be penalized for violating Intellectual Property Rights for importing fake cigarettes; Yohann Reid will also face charges for violating the Food and Drug Administration Act; while Khalevskies and Ashton violated the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Act.
Warrant of seizure and detention will also be issued against the shipments.
“I appeal to you, importers and traders to do your business legitimately. Do not fool and short-change the government because in return you are short-changing your fellow Filipinos,” Lapena said.
“I am telling and warning you. I will not stop issuing alert orders and conduct immediate inspection of alerted shipments,” he added.