PEZA to strengthen anti-smuggling efforts

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    The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is doubling down on its anti-smuggling efforts following the apprehension of a shipment of cigarettes bound for a PEZAregistered enterprise in Cavite.

    PEZA director-general Charito Plaza said in a statement she will meet with Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero on how they can strengthen cooperation to prevent a repeat of this incident.

    Customs authorities at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) on Jan. 18, 2021 apprehended two-by-forty-foot (2×40’) containers containing undeclared cigarettes allegedly bound for the First Cavite Industrial Estate (FCIE) Special Economic Zone.

    The subject shipment was verified to originate from China consigned to YJC International Corp., a PEZA-registered export enterprise.

    Based on the alert order on the shipments issued by BOC, the shipments were found to contain, among others, 1,599 cartons of cigarettes.

    Plaza said PEZA has issued a show cause order to the said company and is conducting its own investigation on the incident.

    “We’re now trying to identify how and where these smuggled items not included in the locators’ importation permit were inserted in their containers. We’re also tracing the owner of the vessel and its route where insertions could have occurred,” she added.

    PEZA is continuously collaborating with the Bureau of Customs for the effective implementation of the Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargo (E-TRACC) system for containerized shipments bound to PEZA zones using a risk-based approach.