BOC Port of Cebu beefs up security to prevent smuggling of illegal drugs
MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — In support of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s ‘all-out war’ against illegal drugs, the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Cebu is also trying to beef up security at the different ports under its jurisdiction.
“The Bureau of Customs joins Governor Garcia’s campaign for a drug-free province. This is a welcome declaration considering the Commissioner’s policy on zero-tolerance of drug smuggling,” District Collector Charlito Martin Mendoza said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Port officials met with their counterparts from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) “to discuss collaborative measures to prevent the smuggling of illegal drugs into the country.”
District Collector Mendoza, PDEA-7 Regional Director Levi Ortiz, and the Port’s Intelligence, Enforcement, and X-ray personnel joined the coordination meeting.
Port of Cebu and PDEA-7 have a long-standing partnership, wherein the latter would participate in the conduct of daily examination of shipments. PDEA-7 has well-trained officers and K-9 sniffing dogs stationed in the airport and the different ports here.
Both agencies also conducted joint controlled delivery operations in the past, the latest of which was made in July 2022 when a claimant from Cebu City was arrested for illegally importing P5M worth of ecstasy.
“We assure the governor that the Port, with all its border security measures already in place will continue to man 24/7 the region’s possible entry points for illegal drugs and their precursors,” Mendoza said.
So far, at least 11 state-of-the-art X-ray scanners have already been deployed in the airport and different seaports in Cebu, including a modern portal X-ray machine that boasts high-resolution images capable of scanning 150 containers per hour.
In addition, two Trace Detection System machines have also been installed to capture the presence of explosives, narcotics, and drug substances. These machines complement the Port’s regular profiling activities conducted by its intelligence officers and the newly operationalized Port Control Office established in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
And in anticipation of at-sea smuggling, the Port launched three high-speed water patrol boats last May to intensify its maritime patrol and interdiction capabilities.
Meanwhile, District Collector Mendoza has directed all employees of the Port “to remain vigilant against illegal drug smuggling through strict verification of importation documents and conduct of non-intrusive and physical examinations.”
“In line with the directive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to suppress the entry and proliferation of illegal drugs, and with the guidance of Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz, the BOC-Port of Cebu vowed to strictly secure the country’s borders to ensure that prohibited goods, especially illegal drugs, do not slip past the bureau’s jurisdiction,” part of the statement read.
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