BOC seizes $19.95B in smuggled goods as of Aug. ’21 | Inquirer Business
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BOC seizes $19.95B in smuggled goods as of Aug. ’21

05:26 AM September 04, 2021

Not even the COVID-19 pandemic could stop unscrupulous traders from importing illegal goods, such that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) confiscated $19.95 billion in smuggled items during the first eight months of 2021, the Department of Finance (DOF) said on Friday.

Citing a recent report of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the DOF said in a statement that the BOC’s antismuggling haul from Jan. 1 to Aug. 23 this year included P15 billion worth of fake products.

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The BOC also seized P1.9 billion in illegal drugs during the same period, Guerrero said.

Another P1.2 billion in illicit cigarettes were stopped by the BOC from being distributed locally due to tighter watch on tobacco shipments, Guerrero added.

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These big-ticket seizures were a result of 615 BOC operations conducted nationwide.

The other illegal goods which the BOC seized during the eight-month period included general merchandise amounting to P887.6 million; P267.3 million in agricultural products; plus cosmetics, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies worth P182.5 million, the DOF said.

“The BOC also seized P290-million worth of currency, jewelry, fuel, chemicals, steel products and other items,” the DOF added.

Also, the BOC confiscated smuggled motor vehicles and accessories (worth P77.5 million); used clothing or more popularly known as ukay-ukay (P56.6 million); electronics products and parts (P23.6 million); alcoholic drinks (P3.9 million); as well as natural resources and wildlife (P3.8 million).

As such, the BOC lodged before the Department of Justice a total of 67 criminal complaints against 217 alleged smugglers under its “bureau’s action team against smugglers” (BATAS) program.

The country’s second-biggest revenue agency likewise filed 48 administrative cases against erring customs brokers with the Professional Regulation Commission to weed out the bad eggs among its ranks.

Last month, the BOC gave more power as well as responsibility to the country’s ports to stop corruption at their level through the anticorruption committees established in each of the 17 collection districts.

—Ben O. de Vera

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TAGS: Bureau of Customs (BOC), Department of Finance (DOF), smuggled goods
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