Box of biscuits, chocolates yield smuggled beetles

Published August 2, 2021, 3:18 PM

by Ariel Fernandez

Fourteen live beetles and larvae hidden inside a package of snacks items have been intercepted by Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) operatives.

(Photo from BOC-NAIA)

The smuggled insects–concealed in plastic tubes–reporteldy did not have the requisite clearance or permit from Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).

The parcel arrived on July 24, 2021 at the Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC). Five days later, it was subjected to physical examination, which resulted in the discovery of the beetles.

Beetles are plant-eating insects that are commonly regarded as garden pests that damage crops by creating numerous small, round holes on plants. Its larvae consumes plant roots, causing wilting, yellowing, and stunted growth of host plants.

(Photo from BOC-NAIA)

The insects were found stashed in the package together with biscuits, noodles, and chocolates, reports said.

They were seized for violation of Section 117 in relation to Section 1113 (f) of Republic Act (RA) No.10863, otherwise known as Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA); as well as Presidential Decree (PD) No.1433, otherwise known as the Plant Quarantine Law of 1978.

Under Section 4 of PD No.1433, the importation of potential animal pests that are liable to become agricultural crop pests and are capable of causing injury to agricultural crops is restricted subject to quarantine orders, rules and regulations. As such, they are required to have Plant Quarantine Clearance and Phytosanitary Certificate from BPI prior to importation, otherwise the importation shall be considered prohibited.

(Photo from BOC-NAIA)

Pursuant to Section 8, Customs Administrative Order No.10-2020, all seized items were immediately turned over to the BPI for quarantine and immediate disposal to prevent the spread of possible plant pests that can affect local agriculture.

The BPI is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA)