Editorial: Raids

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

A TIP on a Bureau of Customs raid on ukay-ukay warehouses doesn’t come often. Much less on rainy and slow afternoons.

But it came as a surprise.

Years after Baguio City gained the moniker “Ukay Capital of the Philippines”, a raid is not commonplace.


According to the report, some 11 warehouses were raided and in the process an estimated P24.9 million worth of used clothing and beddings were seized by personnel of the Customs department.

According to the BOC these were found illegally imported to the country through Freeport zones.

They anchored this raid on Republic Act No. 4653 or “an act to safeguard the health of the people and maintain the dignity of the nation by declaring it a national policy to prohibit the commercial importation of textile articles commonly known as used clothing and rags.”

“Section 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, association or corporation to introduce into any point in the Philippines textile articles commonly known as used clothing and rags, except when these are imported under Subsections ‘i’, ‘j’, ‘k’, ‘l’, ‘n’ and ‘v’ of Section 105 of Republic Act Numbered Nineteen hundred and thirty-seven,” the RA stated.

RA 105 is “a decree to consolidate and codify all the tariff and customs laws of the Philippines.”

To cut the long story short, articles of clothing are allowed under Philippine laws if these are accompanied by residents returning from abroad or by tourists and performers with a brief stint in the country.

These are still subject to Customs regulations and will be assessed accordingly by a Customs collector.

The raid, while in line with Philippine laws, caught Mayor Mauricio Domogan off guard.

This as he expressed sympathy to ukay-ukay vendors stressing they are victims, too.

Local vendors explained all transactions were done online, through text messages and calls.

No face-to-face meetings with these supposed legit dealers.

But as we say, ignorance of the law excuses no one.

On this regard, we also call on BOC to partner with the proper government agencies and conduct IECs in the city to properly inform our vendors of their accountabilities and liabilities relevant to their chosen trade.

And yes, maybe you should take Mayor Domogan’s advice to heart as well.

Check your homefront. This might just be where the bigger problem lies.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 05, 2014.


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