THE BUREAU of Customs confiscated P244 million worth of smuggled personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies during the lockdown in Metro Manila, the Department of Finance (DoF) reported on Friday.
Citing a report from Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, DoF said the items were collected from March 25 to May 31 when”unscrupulous traders”tried to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis.
“Moreover, profiling/targeting of imported shipments suspected to contain contraband and other smuggled articles were intensified. As a result a total of P244.4 million-worth of smuggled/counterfeit/unregistered PPE and medicines were seized by the Bureau,” Mr. Guerrero was quoted in the DoF statement.
He added that they also issued 10 Letters of Authority to inspect suspected people and establishments selling or storing the smuggled goods.
The seized items were taken into custody by the bureau after owners failed to present required import documents.
The seizures were made in various warehouses and shops in the cities of Manila and Pasay.
Among these are: P70 million worth of PPE and Chinese medicines not registered with the Food and Drug Administration at a warehouse in Singalong, Manila; P80 million worth of masks, gloves, goggles and medicine from a place at HK Sun Plaza along Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City; P50 million worth of medical equipment and supplies from Omnibus Biomedical Systems; P30 million worth of PPE from ELJ1 Medical Shop in Sta. Cruz, Manila; P9 million worth of protective gears from Medica Outlet in Rizal Avenue, Manila; P5 million worth of PPE, alcohol, thermal scanners, test tubes and syringes from Philmed Dynasty Supplies Corp. in Binondo, Manila; and various medicines and medical supplies from Ton Ren Tang Chinese Medication in Binondo, Manila. — Beatrice M. Laforga