Customs flaunts new X-ray facility; hot cars worth P3M seized

Morales led Customs staff in presenting the Chinese-made technology, which he said, is what they used in detecting three container vans bearing smuggled motor vehicles misdeclared as parts of a used replacement truck.

The bureau estimated the commercial value of the seized vehicles imported from Japan at P3 million.    

The technology is also used in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and General Santos, and in other major ports of the country serving container vans, eight years after they first requested it in 1999, Morales said.

He said the $2 million worth of equipment acquired via a government to government loan facility with the People’s Republic of China can also detect weapons of mass destruction.

He cited that the same technology is used in Belgium and in France. He said other ASEAN countries like Malaysia and Indonesia have started using the technology at least five years ago.

Morales issued a directive to subject to X-ray examination shipments identified by intelligence reports as smuggled motor vehicles.

BOC identified the cargo's consignee as Geraldine Milan, with an unknown address and was shipped late April. The shipment was put under alert upon its arrival and was seized after a Declaration of Abandonment was issued by lawyer Juan Tan, the BOC's collection officer in Davao.

Morales said the X-ray technology, manned from a control unit of four staff, is an integrated monitoring and detection system allowing minimal manual intervention in the examination of shipments.

He assured it will help in transparency and efficiency in collection and make the agency more effective against smuggling.

He claimed the installation of the X-ray scanning machines will cause "unscrupulous importers" to abandon illegal shipment. He said the machines can detect even the slightest gap between the shipment and what was declared in the importation papers.   

He said the facility should enable the BOC to reach its P228-billion target revenue this year. But he admitted that use of wrong assumptions caused them to recalculate targets just to stay on track. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)