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Bureau of Customs: CIIS agents seizes P4.2-M smuggled onions

Agents of the Bureau of Customs – Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) has seized three containers with more than P4.2 million worth of smuggled onions from China at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

The shipment was intercepted by BOC after CIIS agents received an intel report showing that the consignee deliberately covered the onions that were underneath the fresh garlic. The onions were consigned to Equicent Import and Export Corporation with business address at U253, 2F Velco Centre Building, R.S. Oca corner Delgado St., Port Area, Manila.

CIIS-MICP Intelligence Officer Teodoro Sagaral said only 80 bags of garlic out of 2,800 bags were found inside the container by agents upon examination. “The import permit presented covers the fresh garlic only but it doesn’t account for the declared onions beneath the declared garlic,” he added.

CIIS Director Neil Estrella said the importers have no corresponding import permits from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI). BPI, an agency under Department of Agriculture, issues import permits for onions and garlic. Enforcement Group Deputy Commissioner Teddy Raval recommended the issuance of a Warrant of Seizure and Detention for misdeclaration.

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Bureau of Customs: Files admin charges vs 3 ‘corrupt’ MICP employees

The Bureau of Customs files administrative charges against three employees of the Manila International Container Port (MICP) after they were caught on closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the area supposedly accepting bribes in their offices.
Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said a preventive suspension was issued against the employees while pending investigation of their cases.  “I have given my orders to the concerned officials of the Investigation Division to expedite the probe and once proven guilty, criminal complaints will be filed against them before the Office of the Ombudsman,” Faeldon said.
The said employees were seen accepting money from brokers on several instances while processing entries at the port. “After four months of monitoring, the CCTV footages will serve as a strong evidence against them and if proven true, they should be punished,” Deputy Commissioner Gerardo Gambala said.
Nearly 400 working CCTV cameras installed in various BOC offices are being monitored 24/7 by ComCen personnel. “We can see how vital these cameras are as countermeasures to curb corruption in the bureau,” Gambala said.
Meanwhile, lawyer Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla, the MICP district collector, shared his frustration over the incident claiming “there is no place for any corrupt officials at the MICP.” “We will make sure that the full strength of the law will be applied to these employees,” Maronilla said
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Bureau of Customs: Meeting Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and improvements at the BOC

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The Bureau of Customs in our country has had quite a negative connotation for decades due to unscrupulous individuals. Needless to say, the corruption is so rampant that smuggling and ‘payoffs’ has been an accepted norm because enforcing regulations and catching violators were to no avail.

I had the privilege to sit down with present BOC Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and learned that there’s still a ray of hope to ‘clean’ the bureau.

The BOC is not just an assessment and revenue collections agency, most Filipinos don’t know that they also curb illicit trade and customs fraud. A daunting task because they have to secure 17 ports/borders of our country including wharves in Zamboanga which is a ‘hot spot‘ of smugglers. In line with this, they have laid down plans for procurement of 20 speed boats.

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“It’s all about corruption..” said Comm. Faeldon. The top smuggled goods are drugs, firearms (including accessories), rice, cosmetics (ex. Kylie Jenner brand), sugar, petroleum (of which BOC suggested color kits for fuel which petroleum companies opposed), medicines, bags (fake or imitation), mobiles/gadgets, agriculture products (onions, bananas, etc.)

“Help us challenge the importers..” said Comm. Faeldon. Importers whom have been vocal about corruption within the bureau were challenged to point out the corrupt official, broker, etc. but none has come forward yet.

“We cannot do this alone..” said Comm. Faeldon. The BOC encourages everyone to be vigilant and to not be afraid to report illegal dealings.

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Aside from the drug smuggling apprehensions at the NAIA, an interesting case was told by Comm. Faeldon about the discovery and apprehension of the ‘floating’ shabu factory a few weeks ago. It was a very delicate case because the tips came from a top list of person of interest and suspects.

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To further curtail corruption within the Bureau, the BOC created a Command Center and installed 158 operational CCTV cameras in and around the Port of Manila and OCOM building, including the office of the Commissioner. Livestreaming online is also available to the public (http://119.92.124.28/)

More about the BOC after the jump Continue reading “Bureau of Customs: Meeting Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon and improvements at the BOC”