Customs seizes P462M in drugsBy Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
More than P462.7-million worth of illegal drugs was seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in the country’s major airports this year, compared to P42.4 million in 2012, according to Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon.
In a report, Biazon also disclosed that between January and mid-November this year, the BOC Task Force on Dangerous Drugs and Controlled Chemicals confiscated a total of 63.5 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride, popularly known as shabu, 8.73 kilos of cocaine and 19 tablets of Alprozalam, a prohibited drug, among others.
“The drug haul is over 10 times bigger than the bureau’s total seizures in 2011. The year before, the BOC confiscated illegal drugs amounting to over P265.9 million,” he said.
At least 15 foreign nationals, mostly Asians, were arrested this year by BOC personnel for attempting to smuggle illegal drugs into the country.
The BOC turned over the suspected drug traffickers to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Biazon said.
In a statement, he cited the BOC’s “heightened monitoring of illegal drugs” for its biggest drug haul since 2010.
“We will never allow the lives of the Filipino youth to be wasted by illegal drugs. This is precisely the reason why I have made it clear to all customs operatives to be doubly alert for any drug smuggling attempts in the country’s airports,” said Biazon.
At the same time, he warned foreign travelers: “While we welcome and extend our courtesies to those wanting to visit the Philippines, the BOC, however, does not welcome drug traffickers and drug mules.”
“We shall apprehend on site and apply the maximum penalties allowed by law on all those caught with illegal drugs,” he warned.
Biazon also asked travelers to report to his office any extortion attempt by customs personnel. “We will never allow such acts by any of our customs operatives,” he said.
Last week, Biazon ordered customs personnel at the country’s major air and sea ports to watch out for shabu concealed in plastic bottles of mineral water.