The City Council of Puerto Princesa passed a resolution last September 6, 2021, after the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Palawan Field Office and Bureau of Customs (BOC) Puerto Princesa expressed different views over the enforcement of Republic Act 4653, a 55 years old law which prohibits the importation of used-clothing for commercial purposes.
It is the Resolution Number 1377-2021 entitled ‘A resolution respectfully requesting the CIDG, BOC, NBI, PNP and other law enforcement agencies to exercise utmost and extraordinary diligence and care in ensuring the legality of their operations in connection with the second-hand clothing sellers, online or otherwise, and articles operating in the City of Puerto Princesa’ authored by City Councilor Elgin Robert Damasco.
The said resolution was supported by the majority of the councilors, while four objected, and one wanted it to be referred to the appropriate committee first.
City Councilor Damasco said that the purpose of the passed resolution was to unite the law enforcement agencies and to have consistency in enforcing the laws for the reason that it is not just the online sellers and resellers that are affected but also the lower-income group of people, who opt to purchase ukay-ukay clothes as it is the only choice within their financial capabilities.
During the question hour, Gladys Fontanilla-Estrada of Bureau of Customs (BOC) Puerto Princesa stated that the City’s Port is not a port-of-entry and there are no ukay-ukay importers here. Hence, the presumption was that, if the goods were from Manila, it has already been cleared by the Manila BOC and that all taxes have been paid.
“Kung pumasok po ‘yan, isinakay na ‘yan sa local vessel like Moreta or 2go. Kung ako po ang nasa pantalan ngayon [ng] Puerto Princesa [ay] hindi ko po masasabi na imported po ‘yan,” she said.
Meanwhile, PMAJ Richard John Macachor of CIDG Palawan, stands, that according to the law, the act of commercial importation is prohibited and especially if the purpose of it is to sell are illegal.
“Sa batas ang act of commercial importation is prohibited. What is the purpose of commercial importation? ‘di po ba ibebenta? So, nakasaad po sa batas na ang imported used clothing ay hindi po pinahihintulutang ibenta sa mga kumunidad dito sa atin,” he added.
The BOC Palawan, CIDG Palawan and other law enforcement agencies were invited to the city council to appraised the members regarding the raid of CIDG at an ukay-ukay supplier warehouse which led to the confiscation of more or less P1 million worth of imported used clothes. The case against the supplier has been filed in court.