Ninoy Aquino International Airport district collector Carmelita Talusan ordered her men to double their alert against unscrupulous traders engaged in technical smuggling.
A new modus operandi was discovered by Talusan's team after it intercepted three shipments of Chinese drugs misdeclared as "Resin Handicraft" at a warehouse near the airport.
"This is a new modus in evading the required License to Operate and Certificate of Product Registration from the Food and Drugs Administration on the importation of medicines," said Talusan.
"Be more vigilant in the profiling and conduct of mandatory random X-ray inspection on all shipments prior to release in order to prevent illegal schemes in evading Customs and related laws," she said in a memorandum sent to personnel of X-ray Inspection Project, Enforcement and Security Service, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, and Customs Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force.
Customs NAIA personnel seized some 2.2 kilos of Chinese drugs that landed at the DHL warehouse without necessary documents or clearance from the Food and Drug Administration late last month.
The shipments, concealed in three separate packages to three different consignees with same shipper address, were misdeclared by the importer as “Resin Handicraft,” a clear case of technical smuggling.
Talusan refused to identify the names of the three consignees, saying the bureau's law division is currently conducting case build up against them. She also denied the drugs were intended to cure coronavirus patients.
"We don't want the people think that we are stopping or against the importation of goods related to Covid-19. In fact, we in the Bureau of Customs are expediting shipments of medical supplies and PPEs (personal protective equipment)," Talusan told Manila Standard in a phone interview.
Meanwhile, the Customs NAIA has expedited 6,877 importations all shipments related to Covid-19 from PPEs to test kits.
"Customs NAIA frontliners has been working 24/7 despite the Covid-19 threats," Talusan said.
She assured the public that the bureau will remain steadfast in ensuring that urgently needed Covid-19 related importations are processed and released in the most expeditious manner.