BOC busts 3 shops in Manila for selling suspected smuggled PPE
MANILA, Philippines — A series of raids in Manila yielded suspected smuggled personal protective equipment (PPE) worth some P15 million, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) reported Wednesday.
The BOC said agents of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation (CIIS) Service and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) raided three shops in Sta. Cruz Manila suspected of selling smuggled PPE on Tuesday, March 31.
Among those recovered in the shops were gloves, facemasks (surgical and N95) and goggles that are suspected to have been misdeclared as general merchandise when imported into the country.
“Smuggled PPE may pose a health risk to users since such items may not comply with the safety standards set by the government rendering them not fit for human utilization,” BOC said in a statement.
The owners of the raided stores were given 15 days to present the necessary documents to prove that the items were legally imported into the country as the CIIS conducts an inventory of the recovered items.
“If proven that the PPE was smuggled the store owners may face charges of smuggling in relation to the provisions of The Customs Modernization Act (CMTA),” the BOC said.
“Although the Bureau is focused on expediting the importation of PPE and other medical supplies badly needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency is also committed to ensuring that goods are within acceptable standards and are safe for the public use,” the bureau added.