YTD LESS THAN HALF OF LAST YEAR’S TOTAL: Fewer seized goods due to lockdowns

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    The Bureau of Customs (BOC) said it was able to seize an estimated P9.52 billion-worth of smuggled goods so far this year, of which over half were illicit tobacco products.

    This represents not even half of the reported amount for the full year of 2019, when the agency was able to apprehend P20.58 billion-worth of smuggled goods. These were mostly counterfeit goods, illegal drugs and tobacco products.

    The Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement yesterday that the agency, however, continued its efforts with its anti-smuggling campaign even amid the pandemic,

    The government started imposing various restrictions in March to combat the coronavirus disease.

    Vener Baquiran, deputy customs commissioner, said during a recent DOF executive committee meeting that the said amount is based on seized items from January 1 to December 4, 2020.

    Baquiran said the BOC apprehended P5.05 billion-worth of smuggled cigarettes and other tobacco products from various ports so far this year, more than half of the total.

    The confiscated tobacco products accounted for 53 percent of the total amount of goods seized by the BOC during this period.

    Aside from tobacco products, the BOC also seized P32.59 million-worth of various types of currency, and illegal drugs valued at P1.85 billion as of December 4.

    General merchandise worth P413.89 million, vehicles and automobile accessories valued at P354.53 million and agricultural products amounting to about P238.49 million were also apprehended by the BOC.

    The BOC also seized counterfeit goods worth P1.02 billion; foodstuff, P200 million; personal protective equipment, medical supplies and cosmetics, P195.57 million; jewelry and other products, P68.89 million; used clothing, P48.09 million; electronics goods, P31.07 million; chemicals, P5 million; steel products, P4.76 million; alcoholic beverages, P2.43 million; and firearms, P300,000.