Gordon seeks BoC x-ray experts

A Bureau of Customs X-ray van checking a container. (Photo courtesy of Ben Leano)

Senator Richard J. Gordon has proposed that the Bureau of Customs (BoC) hire expert x-ray machine operators and experts on drug and other contraband detection to counter smuggling.

“The drug war has taken a different tone, not only here but throughout the whole world. ‘Yung mga droga na ito, pumapasok na ngayon through heavy equipment at more sophisticated kaya even our x-rays – dapat turuan ang mga x-ray technicians. Nakalusot sa kanila ‘yun e,” Gordon said.

The senator made the proposal during the hearing conducted by the Blue Ribbon Committee on the P6.8-billion worth of drugs smuggled inside electronic magnetic lifters shipped into the country through the BoC upon learning that the BoC does not have sufficient trained x-ray specialists.

The information cropped up after two BoC officials accused each other of not being an expert operator of the x-ray machines. There was also a debate on whether or not the machines could detect the presence of shabu inside the said lifters. The interpretations of the x-ray images of the magnetic lifters shipped were also debated.

Gordon said BoC personnel should get training, here and abroad, on how to operate the x-ray machines, on analyzing the x-ray images, and on the latest techniques on drug smuggling and detection of drugs and other contraband.

“The drug war has taken on a different form in all parts of the world. Drug syndicates are now employing more sophisticated means of smuggling drugs. It’s a new war on drugs that we’re fighting and we have to have new weapons. Not only should you upgrade your equipment, you have to have your people trained on how to operate the equipment,” he advised the BOC.

“You have to have very, very good trained personnel who can make the decision na buksan nila ang kargamento kung lalabas sa X-ray na ito ay medyo kahina-hinala. Alam nila kung ano ang dapat nilang makita and report accordingly. Hindi pwede yung magbubulag-bulagan,” the Blue Ribbon chairman stressed.

p: wjg