The Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) intensified monitoring of imported goods entering the country to protect the local economy, in general, and to keep the coming holidays safe, in particular, has resulted in the seizure of Php10.6 million worth of illegally imported firecrackers and fireworks misdeclared as school supplies.
According to Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, the two (2) forty- footer container vans of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices came from China and were consigned to FEC Trading which is owned by a certain Francisco Edward Lopez Claudio of Makati City . The pyrotechnic shipment was lodged at the BOC by FEC Trading’s customs broker Advenzur O. Ubas.
“This is usually the time of the year when unscrupulous traders try to keep a killing of the high demand for pyrotechnic devices by flooding the market with illegally imported firecrackers and fireworks,” Biazon said. Adding that, “this modus creates unfair competition in the local market, which directly affects the country’s pyrotechnics industry resulting in job displacements for countless Filipinos.”
“Moreover, illegally imported firecrackers and fireworks do not go through the country’s quality standard monitoring measures. Thus, the safety of those who would use these products in their merrymakings for the holidays could be at stake,” the Commissioner pointed out.
The pyrotechnics shipment were seized by virtue of a November 25, 2011 Warrant of Seizure issued by BOC-Port of Manila District Collector Rogel Gatchalian for violation of Sections 3601 and 3602 in relation to Sections 2503 and 101 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), and also in relation to Section 6 of Republic Act No. 7183 which regulates the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices in the country.
“Our heightened monitoring of cargoes at the POM is in line with the Commissioner’s directive for all BOC port officials to be on their toes at all times and to be extra diligent in the review of shipping documents to ensure that all cargoes entering the country are properly documented and appropriately taxed,” Gatchalian said.
Upon review of the FEC Trading’s entry for the firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices by POM officials, it was discovered that it was not only misdeclared and undervalued, but it did not also have the required import permit for such products from the Philippine National Police.
As this developed, the EDSA Commission manifested their intention to request the Bureau of Customs for the use of the confiscated pyrotechnic devices in the upcoming celebration of the historic EDSA event. Jessil A. Felisario, Public Information & Assistance Division (PIAD), Bureau of Customs