By Ferdinand Patinio

FAKE. Agents of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-Manila International Container Port inspect a warehouse in Imus, Cavite containing suspected smuggled fake goods amounting to PHP150 million on Thursday (Dec. 15, 2022). Customs agents found ready-to-wear garments from known brands, as well as appliances and general merchandise. (Photo courtesy of BOC)

MANILA — An inspection of a warehouse in Cavite on Thursday yielded fake apparel, appliances, and general merchandise estimated to be worth PHP150 million, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said.

According to the BOC, a team from the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service-Manila International Container Port (CIIS-MICP), armed with a Letter of Authority (LOA) signed by Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz, proceeded to Hong Yun Real Estate Group Inc. on M. Salud Road, Alapan II-A, Imus, to inspect the contents of the warehouse.

The Customs agents found ready-to-wear garments from brands such as Dickies, Mossimo, Bench, Levi’s, Puma, Fila, Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty and others, as well as appliances and general merchandise.

“The implementation of this operation comes with reinforcement from different departments. It was also made possible by the coordination with the police and local barangay officials. This is what it means to work with one goal in mind, which is to put a stop to this menace,” Ruiz said in a statement.

“From top to bottom, we are united in our aim to see our markets free from these contrabands as well smuggled fake products,” he added.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) and local barangay officials who were notified of the implementation of the LOA assisted the team to the location of the warehouse.

Customs Deputy Commissioner Juvymax Uy assured that the LOA was discussed with the warehouse’s representative and to the security guard on duty who acknowledged it, before the team proceeded with the inspection.

“Following the proper process is critical in every operation by the BOC. Remember that behind these are big-time organizations used to circumventing the laws, whether here or somewhere else. We have always been careful with making sure cases like these won’t be dismissed because of the lack of due process,” Uy said.

Customs examiners are set to conduct an inventory of the counterfeit items, to be witnessed by CIIS-MICP agents, as well as the representatives of the warehouse.

On other hand, CIIS Director Jeoffrey Tacio acknowledged the diligence and dedication of Customs teams that had been behind every successful operation this past year.

“You know, everyone’s mind is already on the upcoming holidays but our team here is still out there doing the job that they swore to do. That’s how dedicated they are to protecting our markets, the sellers themselves, and the consumers,” he said. (PNA)