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BOC eyes charges vs 10 flight attendants over onions

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Ten flight attendants who brought home 40 kilos of onions and fruits from the Middle East without proper documents may be held liable under the law, an official of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said yesterday.

BOC spokesman Arnold dela Torre Jr. said the agency is studying the criminal charges that could be filed against the flight crew of the Philippine Airlines (PAL).

“Included in the BOC probe is (determining) the charges that we can file, because we have caught many people doing the same these past few months. Our quarantine law specifically prohibits bringing home agricultural products unless these have permits from the country of origin,” Dela Torre said in an interview on Teleradyo.

Earlier, PAL said it was investigating 10 crewmembers for reportedly smuggling nearly 40 kilos of onions and fruits from the Middle East.

A BOC memorandum obtained by The STAR showed that the PAL crewmembers from Flight PR 655 from Riyadh yielded 11.5 kilos of onions and six kilos of lemons with a total market value of $100.

Cabin crew from Flight PR 659 from Dubai were caught with 15.5 kilos of onions, 4.5 kilos of lemons and a kilo of strawberries and blueberries amounting to $150, which were confiscated by the BOC upon arrival in the country.

Dela Torre said the crewmembers violated the Plant Quarantine Law of 1978 due to the lack of a phytosanitary certificate, Presidential Decree 1433 and Section 1404 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act for failing to declare the produce.

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