Tighten shipment checks — solon

A HOUSE leader underscored the need for the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to subject any suspicious shipment to physical examination aside from X-ray scanning.

In a radio interview, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said that this procedure will prevent the smuggling of shabu and other prohibited drugs.

The committee has resumed inquiry into the missing P6.8 billion worth of shabu allegedly contained in abandoned magnetic lifters.

During the hearing, BoC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña admitted that the empty four magnetic lifters seized in Cavite last August 8 indeed contained shabu.

Lapeña changed his tune after Toribio Noel Ilao, director for the DPWH Bureau of Equipment, testified before the committee that the magnetic lifters were unusually larger and thicker than the standard magnetic lifters, were thinly welded making it unsafe for use, and contained lead and asbestos.

“Nakita natin kahapon [doon sa imbestigasyon natin] na maraming loopholes sa proseso bilang dalawang tao lang an in-charge sa x-ray analysis: ‘yung x-ray technician at ‘yung kanyang shift manager. Pwede magkaroon ng kuntsahabahan ‘yung dalawa,” Barbers said over radio DZBB.

“Kaya may punto ‘yung sinabi ni Atty. [Lourdes] Mangaoang na isang technical expert rito [sa X-rays] na dapat magkaroon ng SOP (standard operating procedure) na kapag may kahit kaunting pagdududa [sa x-ray], dapat SOP na ang physical examination,” he added.