THE anti-smuggling campaign of Bureau of Customs (BoC) last year resulted to the confiscation of more than P20.6 billion of illicit goods and the indictment of 128 individuals covering 27 criminal cases.
In a statement, the BoC said that of the amount, P3.59 billion involves the foiled attempt to smuggle illegal drugs in and out of the country.
The apprehensions were the result of the 929 “AOs” (alert orders) and 68 “LOAs” (letter of authority) the BoC issued last year. An AO immediately places a suspected shipment under ‘100 percent’ examination by the BoC while a LOA authorises customs agents to inspect any premises suspected of storing smuggled cargoes.
Atty. Jett Maronilla, bureau spokesman and head of the Post Entry Audit Group (PEAG), said the bureau has also managed to put a closure to the festering issue of the Philippines becoming a dumping ground for foreign garbage by ‘re-exporting’ back to South Korea, Canada and Hong Kong, a total of 102 container vans filled with industrial, toxic and household wastes.
He added that of those hailed before the Department of Justice (DoJ) on smuggling-related cases, this include 21 licensed customs brokers whose BoC accreditations were also ordered cancelled by Comm. Rey Leonardo ‘Jagger’ Guerrero.
Aside from this, Maronilla said the BoC also made representations with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) for the cancellation of the professional license of 11 of the customs brokers.
Additionally, Maronilla said the BoC has more than its share of preventing the entry of contaminated foods with the confiscation and destruction of more than 290 tons of assorted food products and which have been destroyed in coordination with other concerned government agencies.
Asked to comment on the bureau’s chances of hitting its more than P731 billion collection target for the year, or an increase of nearly 12 percent from its P662.15 billion target from last year, Maronilla said he shares Guerrero’s “optimism.”
The official noted that the government’s ‘fuel marking program’ for oil products would be finally implemented this year where the BoC placed a “target” of P10 billion in additional taxes and duties.