8 of 10 shipments misdeclared, undervalued in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines - Eight out of every 10 shipments of imported goods placed under Bureau of Customs alert orders have turned out to be either misdeclared or undervalued, according to BOC Commissioner John Phillip Sevilla.

But to put things in perspective, he said on Friday "over 90 per cent of the average 80,000 container vans that arrive in the country each month have no problems."

"Only a minority of importers and brokers are not complying with the laws," he noted.

In a statement, Sevilla said the bureau would intensify further its "campaign against smuggling as it continues to seize undervalued, misdeclared and misclassified shipments coming into the country."

"We will not apologise for doing our job," he stressed.

The BOC head reported that in the past 10 days, operatives of the bureau's intelligence and enforcement groups seized several shipments found to be technically smuggled.

"These include an estimated P1 million (S$28,400) worth of illegally imported ukay-ukay (used clothing) and garlic that arrived at the Manila International Container Port last August," he said. The ukay-ukay and garlic ships were consigned to Sparta Biotekhnological Solutions and Ocean Eighteen Enterprises, respectively.

The bureau also seized over 30 container vans of smuggled shipments containing various items, ranging from agricultural products, TV sets and computer parts with an estimated value of P40 million at the Mindanao International Container Terminal in Tagolon, Misamis Oriental.

The BOC identified the shipments' consignees as ERS Surplus Ventures, Daebak Wholesale Corp., Esther David Trading, Gwear Jam Imports, GNA Eximport Trading, Squareview Trading Corp., Greener Pasture Marketing, TSJ CDO Corporation, Psalms Eight Trading, Malingas Multipurpose Cooperative, Algaba Trading, and Mamsar Construction and Industrial Corp.

Warrants of seizure and detention were issued by the BOC against these smuggled shipments for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.

"All the seized items will be subjected to forfeiture proceedings in favour of the government. Follow-up operations are ongoing to identify and file cases against the erring importers (and their brokers)," according to the bureau.