Customs, NBI, DTI ensure COVID-19 equipment supply

By Ariel Fernandez

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is working closely with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to ensure the adequacy of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical emergency equipment.

This was assured by Assistant Customs Commissioner Vincent Maronilla, BOC spokesperson.

He said that the BOC will ensure that these vital resources used in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic are released expeditiously and do not fall into the hands of unscrupulous businessmen who, even in this difficult time, take advantage by hoarding or selling these items at very high prices," he said.

The BOC will provide essential information on shipments of PPEs released from Customs and coordinate with DTI in the price monitoring and with the NBI in operations launched by the NBI against unscrupulous traders.

The BOC reminds traders that under Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, the crime of hoarding, profiteering, injurious speculations, manipulation of prices, product deceptions, and cartels, monopolies or other combinations in restraint of trade is punishable with imprisonment of two (2) months or a fine not more than One Million Pesos (P1,000,000.00) or both, in addition to existing laws.

The Bureau also assures the public on its compliance with relevant laws including the Data Privacy Act of 2012, Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, Philippine Competition Act of 2015, or the Freedom of Information Program of 2016.