BOC to travelers, returning Pinoys: Secure permits for veggies and spices in luggage

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Monday reminded foreign travelers and returning Filipinos from abroad that it is illegal to bring in vegetables and spices, including onions, to the country without the necessary import documents.

The Customs bureau made the announcement after crew members of an airline company were apprehended for bringing in nearly 40 kilograms of onions and fruits from the Middle East through their luggage recently.

“Travelers may not bring in vegetables [regardless of quantity] into the Philippines without the required Plant Quarantine Clearance [for personal use] or Sanitary & Phytosanitary Import Clearance [for commercial use] from the Bureau of Plant Industry [BPI],” the BOC Port of Ninoy Aquino International Airport said on its official Facebook page.

“Any person/company intending to import plants/plant products shall file an application for Plant Quarantine Clearance [PQC] [personal purposes]/Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance [SPSIC] [commercial purposes] with the NPQSD prior to importation. This is to safeguard and prevent the spread of plant pests in the Philippines,” it added.

A SPSIC is a required document prior to any importation of agricultural commodities in the country. The SPSIC certifies that the agricultural commodity being imported is safe for human, animal and plant health.

Foreign news outfits have reported that even some Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) returning to the Philippines are bringing home onions in lieu of chocolates and other gifts to help their families in the country cope with the elevated retail price of the commodity.

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