By Rea Cu, November 21 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to Business World

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has issued a circular that would subject all imported chemicals to mandatory inspection to prevent the entry of substances used in manufacturing dangerous drugs.

The BOC issued Customs Memorandum Circular (CMC) 228-2018 placing on alert status all importations of chemicals. The move was in line with the call of President Duterte for all government agencies to be active in the war against illegal drugs.

The CMC was signed by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero and was issued upon the request of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

“All importations of chemicals are hereby placed on alert status and shall be subjected to non-intrusive inspection for possible presence of controlled precursor and essential chemicals used to manufacture dangerous drugs, in diluted, mixtures or in concentrated form, as well as packaging, repackaging, labeling, relabeling or concealment of such chemicals, through fraud, destruction of documents, fraudulent use of permits, misdeclaration, use of front companies or mail fraud,” the CMC read.

Last week, Malacañang issued Memorandum Circular (MC) 53 instructing all agencies to be active in the administration’s war against illegal drugs. The circular was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea.

MC 53 also called for the activation of the National Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force, which will oversee efforts of the government to eradicate the drug problem in the Philippines. The interagency task force is composed of personnel from the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), BOC and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), among others.

The task force “is also envisioned to provide necessary personnel complement to implement the directive of the President to the BOC to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country.”

In 2017, the President issued Executive Order 15, creating the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs  and the National Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force to fight illegal drugs.

On Monday, the BOC signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the AFP, as well as the PCG, a move that is expected to strengthen cooperation among the agencies.

The customs chief, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito G. Galvez Jr. and PCG Commandant Adm. Elson E. Hermogino signed the MOA at the Port of Manila on Monday.

Under the MOA, the three agencies will pursue areas of cooperation in line with capacity building: monitoring; support mechanism; exchange of information; operating protocols and parameters; identifying opportunities and channeling of resources for research activities; and exploring other forms of cooperation.

Galvez said an estimated 600 personnel—300 from the AFP and 300 from the PCG—will be assigned to the BOC for six months to help combat corruption and smuggling.