Smuggled goods in 21 containers of 'ukay-ukay' in Misamis Oriental

MANILA, Philippines – Some importers have continued to use "ukay-ukay (used clothing" shipments to bring smuggled goods into the country, the latest involving 21 containers of used garments in Misamis Oriental, Customs officials said.

Instead of just clothes, the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) found other items in the containers: bed accessories, blankets, bags, and shoes – all of which were not listed in the shipment's documents.

"If before, the declared items were a complete falsity, they now admit that it is a shipment of used clothing, except that they failed to mention some of the contents," said Alvin Enciso, head of CIIS in Cagayan de Oro.

The clothes estimated to be worth P52.5 million ($1.15 million) came from Malaysia and Korea, and arrived at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) in Tagoloan between July 4 and July 11.

Enciso said this is the BOC's biggest seizure of used clothing; in fact, CIIS received 21 alert orders, prompting the group to put the shipment on hold. (READ: The university of ukay)

"We had set a new record in the BOC in terms of the number of apprehended container vans of used clothing," he said.

With reports that imported goods were smuggled in MCT, the CIIS has been on alert guarding the sub-port of the CDO Port.

Ukay-ukay stores are widespread in the Philippines despite an embargo on importing of used clothing for commercial purposes since 1966. Violators of Republic Act 4653 may be imprisoned or be fined of up to P20,000 ($439). –

US$1 = P45.57