THE Bureau of Customs’ (BOC) renewed policy of scanning baggage of arriving passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was able to generate P4.7 million (about US $100,000) in duties and taxes last month.
Customs District III Collector Edgar Macabeo attributed the additional income from customs duties to the re-implementation of scanning policy at the Customs’ Passenger Services at the arrival areas and the re-installation of scanning machines at the baggage build up areas, especially at the NAIA terminal 1.
This was the first time that the bureau collected such amount from the arrival areas of the country’s premier airport in six years, according to Macabeo.
With the x-ray equipment, it can easily monitor taxable items such as signature handbags, shoes, expensive wristwatches, and other electronic devices or even contraband brought from abroad.
The customs bureau also subject the baggage of Europe and Africa bound in-transit travelers arriving from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, United States and countries from the Middle East.
The bureau stopped implementing baggage examinations during the previous administration claiming that the system was one of the root cause of passenger congestion at the arrival areas, especially during peak hour periods.
During this time, customs personnel allowed arriving passengers to pass the free lanes without their baggage being check as long as they have “nothing to declare.” The bureau also stopped distributing baggage declaration forms that usually are giving to arriving travelers.
Before the re-installation of the machines, customs authorities would have to rely mainly on profiling system or information coming from their counterparts abroad especially on drugs.
Meanwhile, Macabeo urged owners of different bonded warehouses accredited by Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to provide x-ray machines in their area to help President Rodrigo Duterte in his campaign against illegal drugs. He said international syndicates may try to smuggle into the country via the bonded warehouse.