The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has warned the public against “Internet love scams” in which victims are befriended online and promised packages containing gifts and even money. They then receive an e-mail supposedly from the BOC asking for payment for duties and taxes. After remitting the money to a bank, however, the package never arrives and their “significant other” never contacts them again.
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon has slammed a netizen whom he said “maliciously edited” his Twitter account advisory on foreign donations for victims of supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name Haiyan).
Despite a P435-million grant from the European Union (EU) and another $10 million aid from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the Bureau of Customs’ information technology system, the BOC has been plagued by the “recurring problem of computer network slowdown and downtime,” adversely affecting the agency’s operations.
The Philippines remains on the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) “watch list” of countries where pirated and counterfeit goods are readily available.
After Batanes, the country’s northernmost province, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has dispatched its mobile e-passport processing, or consular outreach teams to Ifugao in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Norte and Catanduanes in the Bicol region.