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‘Abandoned’ OFW packages to be released starting this month
Ruiz shows mettle as BOC chief; cigarettes, drugs, seized
BUREAU of Customs (BOC) commissioner, Yogi Filemon Ruiz, started the first week of his job combatting smuggling with the seizure of smuggled cigarettes in Lupao, Nueva Ecija, and the confiscation of illegal drugs at two airports in the country and the arrest of one drug claimant in an entrapment operation in Kidapawan City.
Alvin Enciso, chief of intelligence at the Manila International Container Port (MICP), in a report to Ruiz, said that last August 2, they successfully implemented a “LOA” (letter of authority) signed by Ruiz that led to the confiscation of smuggled cigarettes worth P7.5 million in Sitio Bagong Silang, Bgy. San Isidro, Lupao Nueva Ecija.
Enciso added that the operation conducted jointly with elements from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), targeted a warehouse in the vicinity where they found boxes of illicit brands, such as FarStar, Gem, Two Moon, Golden Bridge, Mighty, and Titanium cigarettes.
As no one was at the place to receive the LOA, Enciso said they instead sought the assistance of village officials to act as witnesses headed by Bgy. Lupao chairman, Reginald Espiritu.
The team, after inventory, immediately hauled the said cigarettes to BOC custody.
Last July 27, two days after Ruiz’s formal assumption as customs chief, the Port of Clark announced the interdiction of 129 capsules of cocaine inside a shipment of “shirts” coming from West Toronto, Canada, valued at over P731,000.
The BOC, along with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), decided to take action after no one showed up to claim the package.
The Port of Clark also announced the confiscation of some 500 grams of “Ketamine” valued at some P2.5 million on July 29 after no one also showed up to claim the package since its arrival last June 20.
The drugs were found hidden inside a shipment of picture frames.
Also, on the same day, Port of NAIA District Collector Carmelita Talusan reported to Ruiz the successful apprehension in Kidapawan City of a male suspect after receiving a package of “kush” and liquid marijuana that was coursed thru at the NAIA described as “cooking set.”
The seized illegal drugs were valued at around P1.2 million.
It can be recalled that on his assumption, Ruiz, a former PDEA regional director, said that he would have “zero tolerance” when it comes to drug smuggling.
In a related development, Port of Limay District Collector Atty. William B. Balayo informed Ruiz they have “invited for questioning” 11 Filipinos and a Chinese national after their vehicles were flagged down for inspection along Roman Highway.
The four vehicles were found to contain “illegally withdrawn” copper wires, welding machines, and chain blocks from a “Freeport Registered Enterprise” without proper documentation.
Meanwhile, Ruiz also assured families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that they would soon receive their packages after they were “abandoned” by the consolidator, CMG International Movers and Cargo Services.
The packages from OFWs in the Middle East has been left inside the warehouse of the Atlas Brokerage & Express Padala, Inc. hub in Gerona, Tarlac.
Hours after the formal turnover ceremony last July 25, Ruiz, accompanied by representatives from the Door-to-Door Consolidators Association of the Philippines (DDCAP), led by its president, Joel P. Longares, personally went to the warehouse to inspect the packages.
Based on his agreement with the DDCAP, Ruiz said the boxes for Luzon will be delivered to recipients this month, while boxes destined for Visayas and Mindanao are targeted for release until mid-September.