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Program to fortify drive vs illicit trade launched

  • Written by Paul M.Gutierrez
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 140

THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) on Thursday launched another major program aimed at strengthening its campaign towards effective border security and trade facilitation. 

In a well-attended ceremony that includes Ambassador John Holmes of Canada, United States Attache for Homeland Security Ransom Avila and, Mark Stanley, United Nations director for Southeast Asia, Comm. Nicanor Faeldon said the creation of the ‘Container Control Unit’ (CCU) would help the government “focus” its attention on “non-fiscal violations” like “illicit trade” and the proliferation of so-called “strategic goods.”
    
“This unit will serve as an intelligence office that will focus on non-fiscal violations like illicit trade and proliferation of strategic goods.
    
“It will recommend high-risk shipments to a higher authority to exercise proper enforcement of laws, rules, and regulations, as well as to exercise any type of control in relation to the aforementioned non-fiscal violations,” Faeldon explained.
    
It is expected that thru the CCU, the origin of suspected shipments carrying contraband could be easily identified and interdicted before it can enter the country.
 
The CCU is sponsored by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in partnership with the World Customs Organization (WCO). Two of the major sponsoring countries for South East Asia are Canada and Australia, a statement from the bureau added.
    
Ambassador Holmes said Canada remains committed to working with UN to fight drugs, illicit trade, crime, corruption and border security threats.
 
Avila, for his part, explained the program focuses on export control and border security. He added the CCU would help enhance the BoC’s mandate of trade facilitation and securing the country’s borders from smuggling and other forms of customs fraud.
   
Bemedalled retired Philippine Marines general, Natalio Ecarma, now the bureau’s deputy commissioner for revenue collection and monitoring (RCMG), shall be in charge of the CCU’s operations. The CCU is based at the Port of Manila.