IF it were not for the vigilance of personnel from the Bureau of Customs-NAIA and other related agencies, illegal drugs would have flooded the Philippines following the uncovered attempts to sneak the contraband into the country coming at a successive rate.
The most recent is the interception days ago by the group of BOC-NAIA District Collector Atty. Yasmin Mapa of at least P67.3 million worth of shabu from Africa. The drugs were found in a package whose contents were declared as mere ‘spare parts’ and which were discovered in a warehouse at the NAIA Complex.
Mapa said Customs examiner Garry Burgos noticed the presence of drugs after the parcel went through the x-ray machine and the K9 unit reacted accordingly.
The shipment owner, a 40-year-old female beautician residing in San Andres Extension in Sta. Ana, Manila, was arrested.
Before this, last November 9, the BOC-NAIA also seized an inbound express cargo containing ecstasy worth over P1.6 million.
In September, P15 million worth of illegal drugs were also seized by the BOC-NAIA. They were placed in 10 abandoned parcels at the Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC) on Domestic Road, Pasay City.
The first batch of the said drugs, consisting of liquid marijuana, was initially found in five abandoned parcels. In the second batch of the parcels, authorities found 8,446 pieces of ecstasy tablets and 924 grams of raw materials for making such tablets, worth P14,358,200.
Based on the report to Collector Mapa, the liquid marijuana was said to have come from Taipei, Taiwan, Ireland and Malaysia and consigned to individuals who claimed to be residing in Dumaguete, Talisay City, Zamboanga City, Misamis Oriental and Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
The five parcels containing the ecstasy tablets, on the other hand, reportedly came from France, Amsterdam and the Netherlands and were consigned to certain residents of Caloocan City, Laging Handa Villaruel Street, Metro Manila and Molino 6 in Bacoor, Cavite.
A month before or in August, about P45 million worth of illegal drugs were also confiscated after having been declared as mixed nuts and seeds.
According to Yasmin, the drugs were found inside an abandoned parcel from South Africa which arrived in the country on March 4, 2023, aboard Emirates Air and was sent by one Michael Mobida of Kempton Park, Johannesburg, South Africa. It was consigned to one Wilbert Dee and contained 6.750 kilograms of shabu with a total street value of P45.9 million.
The drugs, placed inside six plastic pouches of nuts and three pouches of pumpkin seeds, were mixed with assorted fabric placemats, pillow cases and blankets.
On Mayo 17, 2023, an estimated P18 million worth of shabu was intercepted in abandoned luggage at the NAIA Terminal 1, at a time when Yasmin had just assumed office as BOC-NAIA District Collector.
Based on records, the said luggage arrived on December 24, 2022 from Addis, Ababa via Bangkok. No one came forward to claim it and when examined, 2.8 kilos of shabu were found mixed with old clothes, bags and range tools.
These are but some of the major busts done by the BOC-NAIA, in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the NAIA Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (NAIA-IADITG).
I shudder at the thought of all these illegal drugs finding their way into the streets or possession of youngsters.
It is indeed a blessing to Filipinos that we have vigilant and alert Customs authorities at the NAIA who effectively barred the entry of the said illegal drugs into the country, worth nearly P200 million in total. This is quite a lot. Whew.
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