MANILA - The Department of Finance (DOF) said Friday millions worth of smuggled personal protective equipment and other medical supplies were seized as the government intensified its campaign against counterfeit goods and hoarding during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some P244 million worth of unregistered PPEs, and other medical supplies were confiscated by the Bureau of Customs from March 25 to May 31, the DOF said in a statement.
Confiscated goods also include masks, gloves, goggles, alcohol, thermal scanners, test tubes and syringes, it said.
In a report to the DOF, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said he has issued 10 letters of authority covering inspection of persons and premises suspected of selling and storing smuggled goods.
“Moreover, profiling/targeting of imported shipments suspected to contain contraband and other smuggled articles were intensified. As a result a total of P244.4 million-worth of smuggled/counterfeit/unregistered PPE and medicines were seized by the Bureau,” Guerrero said.
The agency also earlier confiscated Chinese medicines supposed to cure COVID-19 without clearances from the Food and Drug Administration, it said.
Various hospitals reported a shortage in personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 lockdowns as cases rose. The Department of Trade and Industry earlier warned firms against hoarding and profiteering when stocks for alcohol and other essential supplies were low.