GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/25 October) –The city council is set to conduct an inquiry over the proliferation of imported used clothing or “ukay-ukay” in various parts of the city.
City Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr. said they will specifically look into the processes involved in the entry or importation and the distribution of “ukay-ukay,” which are considered illegal based on the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 4653 and Section 2530 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines.
RA 4653 declares as a national policy the prohibition on the “commercial importation of textile articles commonly known as used clothing and rags” to “safeguard the health of the people and maintain the dignity of the nation.”
Gacal pushed for such move following the seizure last Oct. 18 by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Region 12 of a container van allegedly containing imported used clothing from Singapore.
CIDG-12 took custody of the container van, which was apprehended after emerging from the Makar Port here, but failed to open it.
The agency turned over the container van to the Bureau of Customs (BoC) here on Thursday to facilitate the proper handling of the supposed contraband.
“We will study how these things actually enter our area and determine whether they are really imported or just came from local sources,” Gacal said told reporters.
The official questioned the continuing entry of “ukay-ukay” in various parts of the country despite being deemed illegal in nature.
Gacal said they would look into how the supposed illegal products get past the BoC’s ports of entry and eventually reached the markets.
“We want to know why it continues to proliferate and whether there are personalities involved in this illegal activities,” he said.
In a meeting with the councilor and CIDG-12 officials following the turnover of the seized container van, a BoC official admitted that the entry of imported “ukay-ukay” in any part of the country remains banned or illegal.
But Lawyer Aniceto Sanchez, BoC deputy port collector here, said they don’t have any control with the transactions made by local consignees with their sources.
“We just come in when these products already entered our ports,” he said.
As to the seized container van supposedly containing the “ukay-ukay” clothes, Sanchez said they will wait for the decision of port collector Pendatun Alim, who is on official business leave.
Senior Supt. Manuel Cornel, CIDG-12 chief, said they agreed to turn over the custody of the seized container van pending its opening.
He said they jointly padlocked the container van to properly secure it and avoid possible tampering by interested parties. (MindaNews)