Government operatives raided a mall in Divisoria, Manila, Tuesday and seized P4.5 million worth of smuggled goods and arrested 10 foreigners working illegally.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said the foreigners, all Chinese, were caught selling smuggled goods inside 168 mall in Divisoria, which were also found out to be counterfeit products.
The operation was led by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, including elements from the Bureau of Customs, Immigration, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and Intellectual Property Rights Office.
In a statement, PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica said the bulk of the items being sold were “fake imported products” and that business establishments selling them were “not compliant with the requirements of the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) and were not duly registered with the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry).”
“We promote and encourage business and trade. However, we cannot feign ignorance on the illegal activities being perpetrated by smugglers. We will make sure that importers and brokers who blatantly violated Customs rules and regulations and facilitated the release of these smuggled goods will face legal action,” the PACC official said.
He said the government would conduct a thorough investigation, while those BOC personnel who might be connected to the incident would be charged accordingly.
On the other hand, foreigners engaging in retail business, competing with small Filipino businessmen which deprive the Filipinos of livelihood opportunities would be deported and banned from returning to the country.
Belgica warned that these foreigners could be “charged with violating the conditions of their stay, as temporary visitors are not supposed to engage in gainful activity during their stay in the country.”
“We need to seal the loopholes in the system that allow smuggling and illegal aliens to work. We are doing this to protect the consumers from hazardous products being sold in the market. Some toys, bags and shirts were found out to contain poisonous led materials that were reported to have killed innocent children,” Belgica said.