P50 million medical supplies seized

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - June 1, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) confiscated last week around P50 million worth of allegedly overpriced medical supplies and equipment from warehouses in San Juan and Malabon.

The warehouses are reportedly owned by Omnibus Bio Medical System Inc., a local distributor which was tagged in a Senate investigation for allegedly selling to the Department of Health overpriced testing kits and automated extraction machines for the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19.

Members of the BOC Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, along with the National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine Coast Guard, raided the warehouses of Omnibus along Wilson street in Greenhills, San Juan and Malabon City on May 28.

Medical items such as high-pressure stream sterilizers, blood bags and real-time quantitative cycler were confiscated during the operations.

Authorities said they found three Chinese workers at the Omnibus office in San Juan.

BOC Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla said the items were padlocked in a warehouse secured by Customs agents.

Maronilla said they have asked the Bureau of Immigration to check if the Chinese have valid working permits.

The agencies conducted the raids based on an order signed by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero. 

The BOC said it would file charges against Omnibus if it fails to present proof that the company paid taxes for the medical supplies.

Profiteering during a national health emergency is punishable under Under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Law and RA 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.

OVERPRICED MEDICAL SUPPLIES
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