Customs chief wants container vans’ contents in Misamis Oriental destroyed or sold
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina ordered the opening of containers vans stocked at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) sub-port yard in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental for proper disposal, either by destroying its contents or by selling them, on Wednesday.
Among the container vans that Lina wanted to open – based on his instruction to the Bureau of Customs in Northern Mindanao (BOC-10) – were those tagged as “red.”
He said these container vans should be immediately examined and inventoried, and goods that were declared as illegal should be disposed of with haste to unclog the port.
Around 50 container vans are currently stocked at the MCT.
Lina said the government might still earn from these seized shipments, usually those that were not properly declared or abandoned by the importers.
Lawyer Roswald Joseph Pague, deputy customs collector and BOC-10 chief of staff, said stripping of container vans has been a standard procedure at every sub-port in the region.
“We will strip [the container vans] depending on the computer-selected system,” he said, and through this, the Customs could either release or hold the cargo readily.
Alvin Enciso, chief of BOC-10’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS), said in a single shipment of imported container vans, a portion of that was usually marked by the computer as red.
The tagging of containers as “red” is based on the parameters programmed into the Customs’ computer network, and if the importer has not complied with the checklist, the goods would be put on hold.
Based on the usual practice, a “red” cargo will be opened, then random items will be picked for examination. In cases where there are several containers, the examiners will choose three or four of these for physical scrutiny and the rest will go through the X-ray machine.
But with Lina’s directive, Enciso said all the container vans declared as red would be examined so the contents could be thoroughly verified.
He said the seizure of imported items at the port was not a daily occurrence, though.
“Usually, our importers are compliant, but there are cases where a few try to sneak in goods hoping it will not be detected, but the CIIS and the Intelligence Group have mechanisms that can detect incoming contraband,” he added.
During Lina’s visit to the MCT sub-port, the BOC-10 officials opened vans containing tires, used clothing, rice, cylinders of cyanide, used television, firecrackers, and vehicle parts, among others, mostly from China and Korea.
Lina’s order was for the seized items to be destroyed or given away or sold depending on the nature of the goods.
Pague has vowed they will intensify their efforts to curb the illegal entry of goods into local ports through Lina’s directive, and to maximize their collection efforts for this year.
In 2015, the BOC-10 collected a total of P9 billion, just 6.89 percent or P666 million short of its P9.672-billion target. However, last year’s collection was still higher by 11.49 percent than in 2014.
Pague attributed this to the downtrend in the prices of crude oil in the world market, imported fuel being the prime source of BOC-10’s earnings.
Still, BOC-10 remains upbeat about reaching its P11.5-billion target for 2016, or 14.5 higher than the previous year, according to Pague.
One strategy to achieve this target, Pague said, would be to auction off all the items that were seized, forfeited or abandoned at the MCT, which would likely generate P20 million to P30 million. SFM
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