Solon wants better info-sharing between BOC, PDEA

MANILA The chairman of the House dangerous drugs committee on Thursday stressed the need for close collaboration between the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as international and local syndicates have adopted innovative ways in sneaking illegal drugs into the country.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said the PDEA and BOC must work closely especially in terms sharing intelligence information to avert the entry of illegal drugs here.

May naging kakulangan talaga sa sharing of intelligence information... Dapat bago umaksyon, meron muna silang case conference ng sa ganoon ay mas magiging maigting ang kanilang pagbabantay at paghuli sa mga shipment ng droga (There was really lack of coordination in terms of sharing of intelligence information... Before taking action, they should first have a case conference to effectively detect and seize drug shipments)," Barbers said.

Barbers' panel conducted a hearing on what PDEA alleged was a shipment of PHP6.8-billion worth of crystal meth or "shabu" that slipped through the BOC.

During the hearing, BOC chief Isidro LapeAa contradicted PDEA's statement, claiming the four magnetic lifters found in Cavite have tested negative for any presence of dangerous drugs based on laboratory test results.

"Based on the result of the laboratory analysis both from PDEA and the PNP, four magnetic lifters have no presence of dangerous drugs," LapeAa said.

PDEA Deputy Director General for Operation Ruel Lasala, however, insisted that the lifters contained illegal drugs based on circumstantial evidence.

Barbers noted how drug syndicates tried to mislead and confuse BOC and other law enforcement officials by using multiple routes, like Taiwan, and Hong Kong, and different consignees for their shipments that led to the same address.

"Pilit tayong ina-outsmart ng mga sindikato. Talagang pinag-aralan nila kung paano tayo lilituhin at makakalusot (The syndicates are really trying to outsmart us. They really analyzed how to confuse us and get away with it), Barbers added.

LapeAa identified the consignee of the shipment as SMYD Trading, owned by Marina dela Cruz Signapan and was processed by customs broker Katrina Grace Cuasay.

He noted that the shipment was tagged red, had been X-rayed and examined, and no derogatory information about it has been found.

In a statement, the Bureau of Customs-Manila International Container Port (BOC-MICP) said it merely followed procedures in releasing the particular shipment after X-ray results yielded "no suspect" or no suspicious image pursuant to the memorandum dated September 26, 2017.

The memorandum states that "all shipments tagged RED are not required to undergo 100 percent X-ray inspection and only those with suspicious images shall forthwith be physically examined."

"The BOC-MICP merely complied with the procedures set by the BOC in releasing and examining shipments. It should not be blamed for following BOC instructions," the statement read. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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