Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) director Neil Anthony Estrella said agents conducted simultaneous raids on four buildings suspected of being used as clandestine warehouses for undetermined volumes of alleged smuggled items. Agents were armed with four Mission Orders and four Letters of Authority issued by Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon on March 9, 2017.
“We cannot give the exact value of the seized used clothing or ‘ukay-ukay’ at the moment, but it is in great volume that could provide endless stocks (of that banned importations) in the supply chain within Metro Manila and in nearby provinces,” Estrella said.
Republic Act (RA) No. 4653 prohibits the importation of used clothing, rags, or ‘ukay-ukay’, in commercial quantity to safeguard the health of the people and maintain the dignity of the nation.
Estrella said the bust yielded several tons of used clothing or ‘ukay-ukay’ packed in yellow bales marked with Chinese characters and stashed in almost every unit of five floors of the raided 7-storey building located at No. 159 Cuneta Avenue, Pasay City.
Apart from the ‘ukay-ukay’ stockpile, agents also uncovered huge stash of counterfeit products of original branded items sold in local and international markets. These included Birkenstock, Lebron Nike, Vans, Sanuk, Havaianas, Ipanema Nike, Havaianas Fitflop, Sandugo, Versace, Nike Jordan, Adidas, Crocs, Star Wars (pokemon toys), Puma footwear, and Nike emblems.
Estrella said BOC’s raids have been intensified as part of the campaign aimed at plugging tax leaks and snuffing out of all forms of smuggling.
Intelligence Officer Joel Pinawin, head of the raiding team, said no one from the owners of the ‘ukay-ukay’ and counterfeit items came forward.
“In the interest of justice, we will make sure that the owners will be personally invited to the BOC to provide necessary import documents,” Pinawin said.