MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs has seized two container vans of counterfeit signature fabrics from Thailand and fake food seasoning from China, estimated to be worth at least P316.2 million.
In a news release, the BOC’s information division said on Tuesday the two 40-foot containers were apprehended on Jan. 14 at the Manila International Container Port by operatives of the Customs Intellectual Property Rights and Intelligence and Investigation Service divisions.
It quoted Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon as having said the alleged “hot shipments” were “declared as fabrics, raw materials for shoes and wearing apparels.”
“The container van from Thailand has 156 rolls of Chanel (fabrics), 55 rolls of Louis Vuitton and 475 rolls of Mickey Mouse. It was consigned to Trio AV Trading. On the other hand, the container from China has 1,120 pieces of fake Ajinimoto seasoning. It’s consigned to Skyever Import and Export Trader, Inc.,” he disclosed.
Biazon noted “the illegal importation of counterfeit goods, whether in finished product form or raw materials, has a tremendous impact on our economy.”
“This is the reason why we are closely watching our borders against smugglers,” he said.
The BOC head emphasized “every pair of smuggled shoes that gets through the local market could mean one unsold locally made shoes.”
“And for every unsold pair of locally made shoes could also mean a certain number of lost labor man-hours,” said Biazon.
For his part, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Danilo Lim said they would coordinate with the agency’s Run After the Smugglers office for the filing of smuggling charges against the two erring trading firms.
“We need to put more smugglers in jail and less of them on the streets,” Lim added.
Earlier in a text message, Biazon blamed “connivance between corrupt businessmen and corrupt government personnel” for the continued smuggling activities in the country’s major ports.
“This connivance occurs because the operating environment allows smuggling with human intervention and abuse of discretion being the smugglers’ principal tools,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
But he said “the direction of the current BOC administration is to remove such opportunities for human intervention and abuse of discretion by automating the processes.”
Biazon asserted BOC reforms should not be limited to “more apprehension of smugglers and collection of more revenues.”
He added, “It is the goal of the bureau under the Aquino administration to become fully modernized in its operations, legal framework and orientation.”