The Bureau of Customs yesterday announced the seizure of some 648 boxes of fake N95 face masks with an estimated value of PHP80 million (US$1.6 million) at a warehouse in Marilao, Bulacan.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said in a statement that a raid conducted on Wednesday at the village of Santa Rosa led to the discovery of knockoff masks which bore copied “designs and logos of famous luxury fashion brands.” The bureau also apprehended some 1,000 cases of illegally smuggled cigarettes which included Marlboro, among other brands.
The bureau did not identify the suspects or owners of the large contraband, but the seized items have been transported to a holding facility in the Port of Manila for further investigation.
“The latest apprehension affirms the Bureau’s steadfast commitment in preventing the entry of smuggled items into the country as well as protecting the public from the dangers of using fake items such as protective equipment especially during this time of [the] pandemic,” Guerrero said.
Mandatory wearing of face masks has been in effect across the country since early April, and Filipinos have taken creative liberties in the now-familiar protective gear. The government, however, has recently warned against the use of face masks with breathing valves, saying it only offers one-sided protection against the coronavirus.
This article, Large Haul Incoming: PHP80M worth of fake face masks, cigarettes seized in Bulacan, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!