BOC steps up effort to monitor export, freeport zones
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - December 11, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is stepping up efforts to monitor export and freeport zones, which are used by smugglers as conduits for their illegal import activities, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said.

This followed the recent attempt to smuggle nine 20-foot containers of white Thailand worth over P7 million which were consigned to two locators at the Mactan Economic Processing Zone in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu.

”We will never allow the export and Freeport zones to be used by smugglers as conduits for their illegal activities,” Biazon said.

He has issued a directive to require all tax-free importations of economic investors to go through mandatory X-ray scanning.

The X-Ray Inspection Project personnel assigned at the Bureau of Customs Port of Cebu District Office foiled the smuggle attempt of the sugar shipments which arrived at the Cebu port on Nov. 22.

Biazon said the importers did not have the required permit from the Sugar Regulatory Authority (SRA).

“The consignees of this sugar shipment deliberately misdeclared their shipment to avoid the required SRA permit, a government measure to avoid the flooding of the local market with imported sugar to protect the interest of the local sugar industry,” Biazon said.

XIP project head Lourdes Mangaoang, for her part, said the sugar smuggling attempt foiled by XIP personnel in Cebu is a variation of the smuggling modus operating dubbed as swing.

“The swing is the worst form of smuggling because those who are behind it conspire with one another to spirit the goods out of customs zones under the guise of tax-free importation.

The swingers leave the government with nothing,” Mangaoang said.

Biazon also said the agency would go after the perpetrators of the recent sugar smuggling attempt as well as Customs employees found to be involved in the incident.

The Customs chief has ordered the BOC-Cebu District Office to investigate the incident to identify all those involved in it.

Insiders said Biazon is puzzled why the Warrant of Seizure and Detention (WSD) on the goods indicated the shipments were “said to contain sugar.”

This was in contrast to what the consignee declared in the import entry. Muramoto Audio Visual, the consignee, misdeclared the goods as plastic parts for eyeglasses instead of sugar instead of sugar.

BIAZON BUREAU OF CUSTOMS BUREAU OF CUSTOMS PORT OF CEBU DISTRICT OFFICE CEBU CEBU DISTRICT OFFICE CUSTOMS COMMISSIONER RUFFY BIAZON LAPU-LAPU CITY LOURDES MANGAOANG MACTAN ECONOMIC PROCESSING ZONE MURAMOTO AUDIO VISUAL SUGAR
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