Authorities on Monday reminded foreign and local air travelers to declare their money at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to avoid any inconvenience or prevent their money being confiscated.
Government agents late last Friday intercepted a huge amount of undeclared foreign currency brought into the country by Korean tourist Kim Junheon.
Kim arrived in Manila on board a Philippine Airlines flight from Hong Kong with an undeclared cash amounting to HK$3.828 million (about P25 million in Philippine peso) in his possession.
The foreigner was about to exit the arrival area with his silver carry-on bag when Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service agent Tomas Maranan stopped him.
Maranan directed the tourist to place his luggage to the portable X-ray scanning machine. It was then that bundles of Hong Kong dollars were found.
Customs officials said bringing in or out of foreign currencies in the Philippines is allowed but must be declared when it exceeded $10,000 using the foreign currency declaration form upon arrival or prior to departure from the country’s airports.
NAIA port district collector Carmelita Talusan said Kim violated provisions of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (Republic Act 10863) in relation to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Manual of Regulations on Foreign Exchange.
The Korean national could only get what is authorized by law which is $10,000 or its equivalent in local currency while the rest of his money will be seized in favor of the government.
Kim, through his lawyer, said he would appeal the authorities’ decision to the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Moreover, Kim’s unidentified lawyer told Customs officials that his client had declared his money.
But the authorities said Kim declared his cash only after he was caught.
Three years ago, Customs men also arrested a Japanese businessman for not declaring the 53 million yen found in his possession upon his arrival at the airport.
Arrested was Yoshiaki Takahashi, 50, a resident of Chiba, Japan.
Customs examiners found the money (P21 million) inside a paper bag inside his luggage upon routine inspection.
The government has been consistent in its vigilance in protecting the borders.
The NAIA Customs has a record-breaking 27 drug bust in a span of six months and have stopped several attempts of illegal wildlife trade, concealed and misdeclared goods.
In October 2017, Customs beefed up its anti-smuggling capacity by adding 19 new X-ray machines in the three terminals of NAIA.