Customs exec calls for repel of ‘ukay-ukay’ law

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010


AN OFFICIAL of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Northern Mindanao is calling for the repel of a law that prohibits the entry of used clothing into the country to give way for the development of the local market.

Lawyer Roswald Joseph Pague, BOC-Northern Mindanao legal officer, said Republic Act 4653 must be repelled since the law is no longer applicable.

“In my personal opinion, RA 4653 must be repelled because this law is no longer applicable since nowadays, most people prefer to buy used clothing, including branded ones, which are more cheaper than brand new items which are 1,000 percent higher in prices,” Pague said.

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Republic Act 4653 is an act that aims to safeguard the health of the people and maintain the dignity of the nation by declaring it a national policy to prohibit the commercial importation of textile articles commonly known as used clothing and rags.

Pague said although the law protects the Filipinos, “it is irrelevant” nowadays since even the regional enforcement committee in Northern Mindanao has made a resolution asking the government to repel the law for the local market to boom.

“The law also aims protects the garments industry but in reality, the garments industry has died a long time ago as the local market for ukay-ukay is continuously growing. Ukay-ukay, in fact, has helped the poor a lot that even the City Government gets taxes from local traders,” he said.

Pague cited Davao, Cebu and Manila areas where tons of used clothing were sourced.

Meanwhile, the BOC has noted the absence of smuggled goods that got into Northern Mindanao after the installation of an x-ray facility at the ports of entries two years ago.
Pague said there are no illegal items that penetrated the region based on the “zero complaint” of smuggling lodged before his office as of 2008.

He said the x-ray facility is “highly intrusive” that even containerized van with illegally transported goods could be spotted, making importers impossible to ship smuggled items.

Pague said the BOC-X confronted several shippers and transporters believed to be engaged in smuggling in the region.

However, he said these importers, especially ukay-ukay traders, were able to show complete documents proving the legality of their shipments.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on November 16, 2010.

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