BOC-Port of Cebu beefs up security against illegal drugs
The Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Cebu has recently met with officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Region 7 (PDEA-7) to discuss collaborative measures to prevent the smuggling of illegal drugs into the country.
District Collector Charlito Martin Mendoza, PDEA 7 Regional Director Levi Ortiz, and the Port’s Intelligence, Enforcement, and X-ray personnel attended the coordination meeting in response to Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s declaration of a “total, all-out war” against illegal drugs.
The Port of Cebu and PDEA 7 have a long-standing partnership, with the latter participating in the daily examination of shipments through its well-trained officers and K-9 sniffing dogs in ports and airports.
Both agencies conducted joint controlled delivery operations in the past, the latest of which was in July 2022 when a claimant from Cebu City was arrested for illegally importing P5M worth of ecstasy.
“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 on drug smuggling,” Collector Mendoza said.
“We assure the Governor that the Port, with all its border security measures already in place, will continue to guard 24/7 the region’s possible entry points for illegal drugs and their precursors,” he continued.
Eleven state-of-the-art x-ray scanners are deployed in the seaport and airport in Cebu, including a modern portal x-ray machine that boasts high-resolution images capable of scanning 150 containers per hour.
In addition, two (2) Trace Detection System machines are 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).
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 directed the 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 Customs Commissioner Yogi Filemon Ruiz, the BOC-Port of Cebu vowed to strictly secure the country’s borders and ensure that prohibited goods, especially illegal drugs, do not slip past the Bureau’s jurisdiction. /rcg
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