BOC steps up campaign vs drug traffickers using NaiaBy Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs will intensify further its campaign against international drug syndicates using the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and other airports nationwide in their illegal trade, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said.
In a statement, Biazon on Thursday said the BOC would double its efforts, mainly in “monitoring arriving passengers, especially those coming from high-risk countries for illegal drugs, after we have seen the shift in the modus operandi of international drug traffickers.”
“Employing drug mules, they are now using the airports for their illegal drug trade,” he noted.
During the third quarter of 2012 alone, “about 20 kilos of shabu worth more than P163 million were confiscated by BOC personnel from seven foreign nationals (at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport).”
According to Biazon, “all of them have been charged by the BOC at the Department of Justice for violation of the Tariffs and Customs Code and the Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002.”
“I have said it once and I will say it again. The Bureau of Customs will never allow any international drug trafficking syndicate to make the Philippines a transshipment point for their illegal drugs, much more make the country one of their markets,” he warned.
BOC personnel “will, at all times, be on the watch for illegal drug smuggling attempts and we will not hesitate to prosecute all those involved in the illegal trade,” said Biazon.
Meanwhile, BOC Deputy Commissioner Peter Manzano, also head of the bureau’s Run After the Smugglers, or RATS, program, said they would closely monitor the smuggling case the BOC filed on Thursday against suspected drug mule Roendo Ariata.
On Jan. 8, Ariata was caught by alert Customs personnel at NAIA Terminal 2 with seven kilos of high-grade “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) concealed in several boxes of powdered milk stuffed in his luggage. The drug haul was estimated to be worth P56 million. Ariata was one of the passengers on Philippine Airlines Flight 307 from Hong Kong.