The Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency have agreed to share information and technology with the Fujian Provincial Drug Enforcement Agency of China in a bid to stop smuggling of illegal drugs into the Philippines.
Officials of the two Philippine government agencies met last month with China’s Narcotics Control Commission Deputy Director of Operation Division Shen Yu to discuss how to coordinate and better detect and stop contraband shipments. The Philippines and China have agreed to enhance exchange of intelligence and technology in fighting drug crimes, including the training of operatives and techniques in detecting illegal drugs.
Shen Yu said the meeting was the product of the recent agreement and memorandum of understanding signed by President Duterte with China during his four-day state visit to Beijing last Oct. 18 to 21. The MOU, he noted, is supportive of the Philippine government’s efforts to fight illegal drugs.
According to reports from the Customs Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force for 2016, the BOC intercepted a total of 30 illegal drug shipments worth over P337 million. Of these shipments, 14 were shabu, amounting to P30 million. Five shipments were of ecstasy valued at over P15 million. Nine shipments were of cocaine pegged at close to P292 million, and one shipment was of marijuana worth about P25,520.
Illegal drugs are usually transported to the country via fishing vessels.
One of BOC’s recent operations was issuing a warrant of seizure and detention of 320 drums of imported hydrochloric acid, a precursor in manufacturing shabu, last Feb. 17. The contraband arrived at the Mindanao Container Terminal, Tagoloan Sub-port, Cagayan de Oro last January and was valued at P569,826.40.
In the two-page warrant, BOC-Port of Cagayan de Oro district collector Tomas Alcid instructed BOC-Enforcement and Security Service captain Danilo Aquino and BOC-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service officer-in-charge Intelligence Officer 2 Alvin Enciso to implement the seizure order.
The BOC is still finding out if the shipment was intended for the manufacture of illegal drugs. The shipment was reportedly consigned to Juchem Enterprises and seized for allegedly incomplete importation documents.