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Customs nets P20.58B in smuggled goods

Fake products, illegal drugs, illicit cigarettes
By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:04 AM January 28, 2020

The stepped up campaign of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) against smuggling last year yielded P20.58 billion in seized illegal drugs, fake goods and illicit tobacco products, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Monday.

Citing a recent report to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, the country’s second-largest tax-collection agency said it filed in 2019 criminal cases against 345 importers and 75 customs brokers who had been allegedly engaged in smuggling.

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Among the smuggled goods confiscated by the BOC last year, almost half of the total value or P9.44 billion were counterfeit items.

Also apprehended by the BOC in 2019 were P3.59 billion in illegal drugs as well as P2.67 billion in illicit cigarettes and tobacco products.

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“The rest were agricultural goods (P398.47 million), general merchandise (P59.87 million), vehicles and accessories (P106.55 million), used clothing (P66.86 million), steel products (P78.59 million), electronics (P21 million), goods and firearms (P815,000), currency (P35 million) and other products (P4.1 billion),” the DOF said, citing the BOC report.

The BOC also revoked the accreditation of 196 customs brokers and importers who had violated customs rules and regulations.

On the other hand, the BOC’s online accreditation program allowed the agency to fast-track the registration of 17,760 importers and 2,241 customs brokers last year, resulting in zero backlog.

Within its ranks, the BOC likewise issued a total of 147 show-cause orders against customs personnel for their noncompliance with existing customs rules and regulations, in which 152 were administratively charged, 20 dismissed, eight suspended and 120 were pending decision at the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman, the DOF said. The BOC collected a record P630.6 billion in import duties and other taxes last year, although this fell short of the agency’s goal due to shrinking imports and a stronger peso. INQ

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