By Betheena Kae Unite
A container van filled with boxes of cigarettes worth over P8 million from China was seized at the Port of Manila, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.
The shipment, according to Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, arrived into the country on February 21 and was only declared as brackets.
However, customs authorities during inspection found boxes of cigarettes branded as “D&B” and were already packed for distribution.
Lapeña said the cigarettes are valued at P8.2 million.
It was consigned to Paragon Platinum International Trading Corporation with office located at unit 108, The Centennial Bldg., 375 Escolta Street, Binondo Manila. Records filed by the importer disclosed the signing customs broker as Bernandine Miranda of 3034 Bagac Street, Manuguit, Tondo, Manila.
Lapeña further said the shipment was intercepted through profiling. An alert order no. A/POM/20180227-001 was issued by lawyer Vener Baquiran, district collector, to prevent the release of the smuggled cigarettes.
Another 40-footer van containing fireworks worth almost P800, 000 from China was also busted due to misdeclaration.
“Upon inspection, we discovered boxes of fireworks instead of the declaration which is footwear,” Lapeña said.
The shipment arrived into the country on Dec. 31, 2017 and was consigned to Power Buster Marketing with office address at Baria Compound, Paradahan 1, Tanza, Cavite.
It was alerted on February 27 for alleged misdeclaration.
The fireworks will be turned over to Philippine National Police- Firearms and Explosives Office for proper disposition while the cigarettes are subject to destruction, Lapeña said.
The shipments are awaiting the issuance of warrant of seizure and detention while cases will be filed against the importers for violation of Section 1400 of Republic Act 10863 or Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
Lapeña attributed the foiled smuggling attempt to the “enhanced border protection of the ports and the continued suspension of the Green Lane.”
The “green lane” was suspended August last year, when Lapeña assumed office, to prevent the entry smuggled goods into the country.
It can be recalled that the P6.4-billion illegal drug shipment passed through the BOC’s green lane with relative ease in May 2017.