Customs to purge list of erring importers

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) announced Wednesday, March 8, it has delisted the consignee of more than 300 drums of hydrochloric acid from India for failing to provide an import permit leading to the confiscation of said items even as the agency vowed to rid its list of erring importers.

BOC acting spokesperson and National Chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) Neil Anthony Estrella said their campaign to go after importers who have violated customs laws remain in effect with the seizure of the chemical just among the many imported items BOC has seized recently.

Estrella was in Cagayan de Oro City Wednesday to inspect the seized contraband currently stored at the Mindanao Container Terminal sub-port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

Early this year, Estrella said in reports they have already began removing from their list more than a hundred importers and brokers, some of them publicly listed firms, operating in several major ports in the country due to various violations.

He said they will remove Juchem Enterprises, a company based in Butuan City, from the BOC’s list of importers for failing to present to the agency the import permit of the seized chemical.

BOC identified the company as the consignee of the hydrochloric acid.

Among the violations the importer committed, according to the BOC, include the Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation 3 series of 2003 pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9165.

BOC said the company lacked the following: Special permit for Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals from Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), permit to import from the Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Office, Food and Drug Administration permit license pursuant to RA 3720, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources import and license pertaining to RA 6969 or the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990.

The spokesperson added violators will no longer be allowed to import, and most likely, the filing of appropriate charges will follow.

CIIS-Northern Mindanao head Alvin Enciso said the company claimed the chemical is intended for mining activities but they received information from the PDEA that hydrochloric acid can also be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, an illegal drug.

The hydrochloric acid, which entered the MCT sub-port last January 31, was alerted on request of lawyer Teddy Raval, deputy commissioner for the BOC’s Intelligence Group, Enciso said.

Estrella said if an imported item is used for mining operations, the consignee must see to it that they have secured the pertinent papers before shipping the goods to the country.

“Mining is also a regulated industry. They (importers) should be aware that necessary documentation is properly intact prior their [their] importation,” he added.

BOC-Northern Mindanao Collector Tomas Alcid, in a separate interview, said the Customs will turn over the chemical to the police for safekeeping.


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