Cebu Customs seizes P116M of hot goodsBy Norman V. Mendoza
Cebu Daily News
An estimated P116 million worth of smuggled goods were seized by the Bureau of Customs in four different areas in Metro Cebu.
The cargo included rice, white sugar, counterfeit leather goods and personal accessories, firearms and a motorcycle in shipment from January to yesterday.
About a hundred million pesos worth of counterfeit goods were confiscated in a shopping center in barangay Pusok, Lapu-Lapu City.
In a surprise inspection, Customs officials led by Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon found counterfeit bags, wallets and eyewear.
The store owner was not around during the inspection. The salesladies said the store is owned by a Korean.
Biazon said they will investigate further the store’s operation and inventory the store’s stocks.
Cebu Customs Collector Edward dela Cuesta estimated the value of the counterfeit goods at P100 million.
The group then went to a cargo forwarding services firm near the Mactan Cebu International Airport to check a confiscated motorbike worth about P800,000.
The “big bike” was consigned to Philippine IINO, a MEPZ locator, which said it had nothing to do with the shipment.
Earlier yesterday morning, dela Cuesta presented to Biazon confiscated shipments in the Cebu International Port (CIP) of imported rice and white sugar placed in 20 container vans.
These were misdeclared as construction materials and confiscated in operations last Feb. 22 and March 1.
Dela Cuesta said the shipment was stopped at the holding area since last week on suspicion that the shipment was misdeclared in violation of Section 2503 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines . The shipment was later subjected to an alert order from the Office of the Commissioner (Ocom).
Dela Cuesta said even without the alert order, the cargo would be automatically subjected to a 100 percent examination as this was already transferred to the holding area.
Based on the manifest, the shipment from Taiwan was said to contain insulator slab. But he said their intelligence report indicated that the shipment was suspected to contain sacks of rice.
Ten of the container vans which arrived on March 1 from Taiwan at the Cebu International Port (CIP) were consigned to a trading firm based in Mandaue City.
The other shipment of 10 container vans arrived in Feb. 22 at the CIP from Thailand and consigned to another trading firm also based in Mandaue City.
The smuggled rice was valued at P5 million to P10 million.
In line with dela Cuesta’s hold order, the Office of the Commissioner issued an alert order for the 20 container vans.
The apprehension of the shipment was the first since dela Cuesta assumed as district collector at the Port of Cebu last February 6. Biazon said the catch is part of their earnest efforts to fight against the smugglers and duty to protect the farmers complaining of undue competition from smuggled agriculture products dumped as cheap commodities in the market.
“We will be pursuing these violators and file cases against them,” he said
At the Customs office, they also presented the seized firearms estimated at around P400,000 which was confiscated from an Australian last Jan. 10 at the Port of Cebu. The firearms that were declared as personal effects were found in a 40 footer container. It consisted of one Sturm Ruger .357 Magnum, with 106 pieces of live bullets, one Star 9mm pistol with 94 pieces of ammunition and two magazines, a caliber .22 rifle and one M-16 rifle.