MANILA – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has reported to the Department of Finance (DOF) it seized PHP4.43 billion worth of goods in the first five months of this year from 478 operations involving suspected smuggling activities during this period.
Preliminary BOC data showed that of the seized goods, counterfeit products accounted for PHP1.98 billion, followed by general merchandise worth PHP864.44 million.
Its tightened watch on cigarette shipments entering the country has led to numerous seizures and apprehensions of illegally imported tobacco products, which accounted for PHP759.89 million of the value of suspected smuggled goods confiscated so far by the agency.
In its report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III during a recent DOF Executive Committee (Execom) meeting, the BOC also said it has apprehended PHP373.16 million worth of illegal drugs, PHP221.81 million worth of agricultural products, and used clothing valued at PHP39.13 million during the period.
Electronics parts and products worth PHP23.54 million, firearms valued at PHP40.12 million; cosmetics, personal protective equipment (PPE) sets and other medical supplies worth PHP54.12 million, vehicles and accessories valued at PHP23.47 million, wildlife worth PHP3.73 million, and alcoholic beverages worth PHP3.91 million were also seized by the BOC, according to Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero during the Execom meeting.
The BOC also seized PHP45.77 million worth of currency, jewelry, fuel, chemicals and other products from January 1 to May 31.
From January 1 to May 28, the BOC filed 38 criminal cases with the Department of Justice (DOJ) against 144 respondents suspected of involvement in smuggling activities, and another 23 administrative cases against erring customs brokers before the Professional Regulation Commission.
The BOC has so far ordered the closure of 26 customs-bonded warehouses and 40 members of customs common-bonded warehouses, following the completion of its inspection of 391 customs warehouses across the country. (PNA)