MANILA — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) vowed to implement stricter measures on the entry of imported goods in the country.
“We will make sure measures (are implemented). We will not allow goods imported to us will not pass through BOC undetected. Now, kapag sinabi green lane, beyond question ang transactions. Big businesses. Pero kung bago, daan sa red lane (If these products are on the green lane, transactions will be beyond questions. But if these are new, these will pass through the red lane),” said Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña in a press briefing on Tuesday.
The BOC’s green lane is for shipments of reputable companies that undergo minimal inspection while the red lane is for shipments which undergo tighter checking.
“Something has to be done with the procedure. The manning of those equipment,” he said.
With this, he revealed that some 70 percent of illegal drug shipments in the country passed through seaports.
“There are reports we receive (from the) Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) (stating) 70 percent of bulk shipments of illegal drugs pass through the BOC,” he said.
Lapeña, a former PDEA chief, noted that he will be able to immediately address the problem since he is now the head of the agency.
“As head of the BOC. I think we can improve on this very, very much… I think this is also one of the reasons why I’m here. If I’m able to address the bulk shipment through the seaport/BOC then malaki reduction magagawa sa supply ng drugs (If I’am able to address the bulk shipment through the seaport/BOC, then it will greatly reduce the supply of drugs),” he said.
He added that those engaged in manufacturing of illegal drugs have shifted back to bulk shipment since manufacturing has become risky because of successful raids in shabu laboratories.
“Production of illegal drugs in clandestine laboratories, iniwasan na ng manufacturers because it has become risky. (Manufacturers have avoided production of illegal drugs in clandestine laboratories because it has become risky.) So they shifted back to bulk shipment,” the BOC chief said.
He added, “We have substantial number of shabu labs that we have dismantled, three, Arayat, Pampanga; Catanduanes, etcetera. ‘Yung karamihan niyan ay operating or about to operate, ‘yun Arayat but when President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) admin started, hinto na. (Many of these laboratories are operating or about to operae. However, the one in Arayat and others stopped since the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration)”
With this, Lapeña acknowledged the information from their Chinese counterpart that paved the way for the seizure of the PHP6.4 billion shabu shipment from a warehouse in Valenzuela last May.
“We have 604 kilos that was recovered after info from counterpart from Chinese Customs. Kung wala (ang) info na ‘yun, we don’t know ilan ang daan (na) illegal drugs through our BOC (Without such information, we don’t know the volume of illegal drugs that will pass through the BOC),” he said.