The Bureau of Customs reported to the Department of Finance that it seized P4.43 billion worth of goods in the first five months of this year from 478 operations involving suspected smuggling activities.
Preliminary BOC data showed that, of the seized goods, counterfeit products accounted for P1.98 billion, followed by general merchandise worth P864.44 million.
Its tightened watch on cigarette shipments entering the country has led to numerous seizures and apprehensions of illegally-imported tobacco products, which accounted for P759.89 million of the value of suspected smuggled goods confiscated, so far, by the agency.
In its report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III during a recent DOF Executive Committee meeting, the BOC also said it has apprehended P373.16 million worth of illegal drugs, P221.81 million worth of agricultural products, and used clothing valued at P39.13 million during the period.
Electronics parts and products worth P23.54 million, firearms valued at P40.12 million, cosmetics, personal protective equipment sets and other medical supplies worth P54.12 million, vehicles and accessories valued at P23.47 million, wildlife worth P3.73 million, and alcoholic beverages worth P3.91 million were also seized, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said during the Execom meeting.
The BOC also seized P45.77 million worth of currency, jewelry, fuel, chemicals and other products from January 1 to May 31.
From January 1 to May 28, the BOC filed 38 criminal cases with the Department of Justice against 144 respondents suspected of involvement in smuggling activities, and 23 administrative cases against erring customs brokers before the Professional Regulation Commission.
The BOC has, so far, ordered the closure of 26 customs-bonded warehouses and 40 members of customs common-bonded warehouses, following the completion of its inspection of 391 customs warehouses across the country.
Meanwhile, the BOC Sub-port Office of Dumaguete has collected more revenues than their target for the first half of this year.
In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, Dumaguete Customs collector Fe Lluelyn Toring said that from Jan. 1 to June 20, her office had an actual collection of some P2.859 billion, which exceeded their target of P2.799 billion by 2.13 percent.
“This is a variance of 2.13 percent or more than P59.687 million more than our target for the period covered,” Toring said.
Also, the semi-annual collection this year is higher than the same period last year, that was pegged at around P2.1 billion, she added.
She attributed this to the increased importation of petroleum products, particularly diesel fuel, by Filoil Logistics Corp., the highest contributor to the sub-port’s gains.
Aside from Filoil, the other top two regular importers are the Dumaguete Coconut Mills Inc. and Pryce Gases Inc., Toring said.
Despite the pandemic, importation continues without letup and the BOC official is hopeful that they can meet or beat their 2021 target collection of P5.8 billion at the end of the year.*