By Arwen Pascua
MANILA — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has filed 70 criminal cases against 244 suspected smugglers from January up to the first week of December this year and has padlocked 19 customs bonded warehouses (CBWs) for various violations in line with its efforts against smuggling campaign amid the pandemic.
In a report to Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III during a recent DOF executive committee (Execom) meeting, Deputy Customs Commissioner Vener Baquiran said that another 40 members of Customs Common Bonded Warehouses (CCBWs) were also closed down during the same period.
Baquiran said the BOC was able to inspect 151 CBWs and 249 members of CCBWs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 4, 2020.
During the same period, the BOC seized an estimated P9.52 billion-worth of smuggled goods, of which over half were illicit tobacco products, Baquiran said.
Baquiran said the BOC apprehended P5.05 billion-worth of smuggled cigarettes and other tobacco products from various ports.
The confiscated tobacco products accounted for 53 percent of the total amount of goods seized by the BOC during this period, Baquiran said.
Aside from tobacco products, the BOC also seized P32.59 million-worth of various types of currency, and illegal drugs valued at P1.85 billion from Jan. 1 to December 4.
General merchandise worth P413.89 million, vehicles and automobile accessories valued at P354.53 million, and agricultural products amounting to about P238.49 million were also apprehended by the BOC, Baquiran said.
The BOC also seized counterfeit goods worth P1.02 billion; foodstuff, P200 million; personal protective equipment (PPEs), medical supplies and cosmetics, P195.57 million; jewelry and other products, P68.89 million; used clothing, P48.09 million; electronics goods, P31.07 million; chemicals, P5 million; steel products, P4.76 million; alcoholic beverages, P2.43 million; and firearms, P300,000.
On the other hand, APECO is the first and the leading green Economic Zone and Freeport Authority and a vital gateway to the Eastern Pacific Seaboard catalyzing the socioeconomic development of Aurora Province which contributes to the progress of the whole nation. (AI/FC/MTVN)