Customs agents assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport have intercepted at the Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC) in Pasay City a smuggled shipment of pests from Thailand.
“Through the rigorous screening of postal items, including X-ray scanning and thorough physical examination, a parcel was found to contain 50 concealed pieces of isopods, invertebrates belonging to the greater crustaceans, which were all misdeclared as candy,” NAIA district collector Yasmin Mapa said in a statement.
She said the exotic pests were confiscated for lack of import clearance from the Bureau of Plant Industry, violating the Plant Quarantine Law of 1978 (Presidential Decree 1433) and the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).
Mapa said the Bureau of Customs under the leadership of Commissioner Bien Rubio pledges to prevent smuggling and protect the country’s borders against threats, including exotic pests, through strict border controls and reforms.
The Port of NAIA previously confiscated at CMEC a parcel containing 14 live beetles and larvae illegally shipped from Hong Kong. The authorities found the insects concealed in plastic tubes hidden in the packages of snacks, biscuits, noodles, and chocolates.
The shipment, which was consigned to a resident in Mandaluyong City, was confiscated also for lack of necessary clearance and permit from the Bureau of Plant Industry.
Under Section 4 of PD 1433, the importation of potential animal pests, which are liable to become agricultural crop pests and can cause injury to agricultural crops, is restricted subject to quarantine orders, rules, and regulations.
Prior to importation, the owner must secure Plant Quarantine Clearance and Phytosanitary Certificate from the Bureau of Plant Industry, otherwise, the importation of which shall be considered prohibited.
The seized shipment was immediately turned over to the Bureau of Plant Industry for quarantine and immediate disposal to prevent the spread of possible plant pests that can affect local agriculture.