The Bureau of Customs – Port of NAIA (BOC-NAIA) on November 25, 2021 conducted a webinar on the policies and procedures on importation of plants and plant products, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) through Zoom Video Conference and Facebook Live.
In attendance from BPI were George Y. Culaste, PhD, BPI Bureau Director, and Jessa B. Antero, Senior Agriculturist, who were also the Keynote Speaker and Resource Speaker respectively. For the part of BOC-NAIA, delegation was headed by Port of NAIA District Collector Carmelita M. Talusan, CESE, along with the webinar panelists Mark Jhon O. Almase, PhD, Subport Collector of Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC), and Julius Herald B. Altiche, Head of NAIA Customer Care Center (CCC).
Among the topics discussed during the webinar by Senior Agriculturist Antero include the procedures in importing live plants, ornamental plants, seeds, mushrooms, and fresh fruits and vegetables. BPI Bureau Director Culaste in his keynote address, emphasized the importance of protecting the environment through ensuring that plant and plant product requiring the necessary import permits are checked by the BPI and BOC. He also thanked the Bureau of Customs for the initiative in strengthening partnership between the two agencies, and the information drive to improve awareness of the general public.
Meanwhile, Port of NAIA District Collector highlighted the importance of pursuing these endeavors which continue to improve information dissemination to all stakeholders on the existing laws and regulations on importation, as the volume of sending parcels and air-cargoes increase during Christmas season, and especially now that planting and gardening are trendy hobbies during the COVID-19 pandemic, and sending these are popular gifts as well.
In 2021, a total of 6,016 plants of different species such as rubber plant, monstera, orchids, carnivorous plants and other ornamental plants were confiscated by the Port of NAIA due to lack of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPSIC)and Commodity Clearance from the Bureau of Plant Industry.
The webinar reached more than 1,500 stakeholders, including general public, both from Zoom Video Conference and Facebook Live, and recorded 400 interactions online which represent the number of reactions, comments, and shares in the online platforms.
The Bureau of Customs under the leadership of Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero and the Port of NAIA headed by District Collector Talusan remain committed in strengthening partnership with regulatory agencies such as the Bureau of Plant Industry in conducting forums and webinars, to improve public awareness while promoting transparency.
The recorded copy of the webinar can be downloaded in the official Facebook page of the BOC-NAIA (Bureau of Customs NAIA).