The government has acquired 50 new X-ray scanning machines worth P1.2 billion for the country’s seaports and airports, including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Fifteen units of fixed baggage x-ray machines, 25 units of hand-carried baggage x-ray machines, four units of mobile baggage x-ray machines, and six units of portal-type x-ray machines will be installed this year, according to Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
The brand new x-ray machines are capable of identifying dense areas and apply the high penetration feature only to the dense area of the shipment.
The equipment can provide a function that automatically detects organic substances with relative atomic numbers one after another or highlighting a region or the system that may display organic substances in orange color.
It is also capable of discriminating between organic and inorganic materials and with Threat Image Projection which is capable of automatic projection of threat images to enhance the alertness of the system operators.
Guerrero said strengthening the agency’s efforts and capabilities against smuggling and other customs fraud was among the top priorities of the bureau.
“We need to immediately install and upgrade our x-ray machines to strengthen vigilance and prevent the entry of smuggled and contraband goods in the Philippines,” he said.
Guerrero added that the upgrade was significant for the enhancement of the bureau’s non-intrusive inspection of shipments using x-ray machines.
“This measure has helped the BoC intensify its campaign against illicit trade, resulting to the successful apprehension of billion worth of illegal drugs,” he said.
In NAIA, Customs agents conducted a total of 27 drug busts, including those apprehensions made with the help of the x-ray machines, during the first six months of 2018.
The most recent was the apprehension of P27.5 million worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride, cocaine and cannabis seized in separate occasions.
In 2017, the Customs bureau also installed 19 new x-ray units in the three terminals of NAIA and another seven new hand-carried units were installed in 2018.
At present, about 66 units of x-ray machines are installed and operating in various airports and seaports nationwide.
The installation of the x-ray machines will be completed before the end of the year.