The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Thursday reported the interception of 28 kilos of agarwood worth PHP2.4 million in Pasay City.
In a statement, the BOC said officials of the Port of NAIA, in coordination with its Environment Protection Compliance Division (EPCD), intercepted the three packages in a warehouse in the city on Wednesday.
Documents showed that the packages were misdeclared as “face masks and clothes”, “shoes and handbags”, and “leather jackets, face masks, man pants”.
All three packages were shipped by a resident from Davao to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Upon x-ray inspection, the packages yielded different images compared to what was declared by the sender.
After subjected to 100 percent physical examination, they discovered the agarwood.
The BOC said the packages were attempted to be exported without the necessary permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The subject packages shall be subjected to seizure and forfeiture proceedings for violation of Section 117 (Regulated Shipments), Section 1400 (Misdeclaration) and Section 1113 (Property Subject to Seizure and Forfeiture), all of Republic Act No. 10863 (CMTA) in relation to Section 27 (i) [Illegal Transport] of Republic Act No. 9147 (Wild Life Act).
It will be turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Agarwood is classified under the “Appendix 2” of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES).
According to the DENR, agarwood is a resin valued for its distinctive fragrance. It is formed when the host tree becomes infected with a mold called phialophoraparasitica.
The mold infection makes the tree produce a dark aromatic resin called aloes or agar in its heartwood. The fragrant resin is used to make incense, perfume, and medicinal products particularly in the Middle East and Asia.
Selling of agarwood or lapnisan is illegal in the Philippines. It is found only in the heart of the jungles in Mindanao and Visayas.
Agarwood is one of the rarest and most expensive tree species in the world, with a kilo amounting to as much as PHP750,000.
Source: Philippines News agency