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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


The Bureau of Customs remains vigilant in monitoring the influx of goods from abroad amid the influenza A H1N1 pandemic that is sweeping the globe.

Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales, in an interview assured the public that the BoC is in close coordination with other regulating agencies like the Department of Agriculture to ensure that banned imported goods that pose risk to local consumers are seized upon entry at customs and not allowed to leave its premises.

"When the DA issued a ban on imported pork and pork products from countries with confirmed cases of A H1N1 flu, we immediately complied," explained Morales. Should other bans or issuances be ordered by other regulating agencies, the BoC is "fully capable of acting immediately on these orders to ensure the safety of our consumers," said Morales.

Reacting to recent reports that the Department of Health has warned the public about buying and using imported used clothing or "ukay-ukay", Commissioner Morales could only agree.

"Ukay-ukay has been banned a long time precisely because of the health risks that used clothing may pose to our consumers. Customs apprehend any shipment of ukay-ukay that passes through customs territory," said Morales.

Morales informed the public that the BoC will employ the same approach it used in preventing the entry of previous threats like avian influenza and the melamine-contaminated milk products in dealing with the A H1N1 virus scare. And that is the combination of three things:

"Vigilance of our people in imports monitoring with the help of our x-ray machines, close coordination with other agencies,  and swift actions on any bans, orders or warnings issued by other regulating agencies," said Morales.

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