BOC donates over 5,700 boxes of seized goods for Taal evacuees

Bureau of Customs-Port of Manila donates forfeited canned goods to the Department of Social Welfare and Development on January 22, 2020.
Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Manila donates forfeited canned goods to the Department of Social Welfare and Development on January 22, 2020. Photo from BOC.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has handed over thousands of boxes of sausages seized two years ago to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) following the order of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to donate confiscated food items to evacuees in Batangas and Cavite following Taal volcano’s eruption.

BOC deputy commissioner Atty. Edward James Dy Buco said that in compliance with Dominguez’s directive, the customs bureau turned over to the DSWD some 32 pallets each containing 180 boxes of canned Libby’s Vienna Sausage seized at the Port of Manila in March 2018.

Dy Buco said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had cleared the shipment of Libby’s canned sausages as fit for human consumption. The deed of donation for the food items was also signed by Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero and approved by Dominguez to enable swift delivery of the relief goods to the evacuees.

The donation will help feed 53,000 families or around 267,000 evacuees, Dy Buco noted.

“I have directed the BOC to determine which confiscated and unclaimed shipments of food items in the ports are fit for human consumption so that these goods can be sent right away to the victims of Taal’s continued eruption,” Dominguez said.

He said he was also informed that Guerrero has already instructed all customs ports to determine if items other than foodstuff could be donated to the growing number of Taal evacuees.

Dy Buco said BOC will send to the FDA some samples from a separately seized shipment of canned corned beef items stored in a 20-foot container to find out if the shipment is still fit for human consumption and could thus be donated.

“We have also coordinated with the Department of Agriculture for them to determine whether several containers of frozen fish seized at the Manila International Container Port and forfeited in favor of the government are fit for human consumption. If found to be okay, the same will be donated,” Dy Buco said in his report to Dominguez.

Upon Dominguez’s earlier instructions, BOC had been donating its shipments of seized “hot” rice to help in DSWD’s disaster relief operations.

The customs bureau has also turned over other confiscated items to DSWD such as bed sheets, blankets and towels, clothes and face masks seized from various customs ports.

Under Chapter 10, Section 1141 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA), goods in BOC’s custody that are up for disposal “may be donated to another government agency or declared for official use by the Bureau, after approval of the Secretary of Finance, or sold at a public auction within 30 days after a 10-day notice posted at a public place at the port where the goods are located and published electronically or in a newspaper of general circulation.”

In addition, goods suitable for shelter, food items, clothing materials and medicines “may be donated to the DSWD,” the CMTA states.