Smuggled mercury, other goods seized
MANILA, Philippines–The Bureau of Customs has seized seven containers of smuggled goods from China, including one with about 360 kilograms of the banned heavy metal mercury, estimated to be worth nearly P2 million.
Customs Deputy Commissioner for the Intelligence Group Jessie Dellosa yesterday identified the consignees of the illegally imported items as Greyboid Corp., Thunderdragon Foods and Agricultural Products Import-Export Corp.
In a statement, the former Armed Forces chief of staff said the smuggled goods were confiscated on Tuesday at the Manila International Container Port at the South Harbor.
The hot items also included regulated medicines, fake footwear and clothing apparel with brands like Havaianas, Keds, Polo, Ralph Lauren, Fred Perry, Giordano and Abercrombie and Fitch, among others.
They were misdeclared as paper cups and plates and T-shirts, according to Dellosa.
“We believe that the clothing items with fake brands were intended as additional stocks for the Christmas holidays,” he said.
He also reported that the seized medicines, which require importation permits from other government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, had “no English texts on their product labels and inserts.”
Dellosa noted that mercury had been banned in the country since 2012.
The metal is used in a wide array of devices, such as thermometers, barometers, float valves, mercury switches, fluorescent lamps and telescopes, as well as dental fillings and in cosmetic products.
Mercury is also used in the mining industry to separate gold from crushed ore.
Two years ago, President Aquino issued Executive Order No. 79 banning the use of mercury in small-scale mining.
The Philippines is a signatory to the United Nations-backed Minamata Convention, an international treaty that seeks to ban the use of the metal in over 130 countries by 2020.