The Philippine Bureau of Customs (BOC) is adding within the year 50 new x-ray machines in various airports and seaports to the 66 it currently has.
Fifteen fixed baggage x-ray machines, 25 hand-carried baggage x-ray machines, four mobile baggage x-ray machines, and six portal-type x-ray machines worth more than P1.2 billion will be installed before the end of the year, Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said in a statement.
According to BOC’s X-Ray Inspection Project, the new x-ray machines are capable of identifying dense areas and deeply penetrating only that dense area of the shipment.
“These can provide a function that automatically detects organic substances with relative atomic numbers one after another or highlighting a region or the system that may display organic substances in orange color. It is also capable of discriminating between organic and inorganic materials and with Threat Image Projection (TIP) which is capable of automatic projection of threat images to enhance the alertness of the system operators,” BOC said.
Earlier, BOC said the new x-ray machines it is purchasing can double or triple the ability of the current ones, as the new units will be capable of 2D and 3D imaging and identifying organic and inorganic materials, including drugs and other narcotics.
The new portal-type x-ray machines can also scan trucks passing through even at a speed of 20 to 40 kilometers per hour.
Strengthening customs efforts and capabilities against smuggling and other customs fraud is among the top priorities of the bureau under Guerrero, who assumed office on October 31 last year.
“We need to immediately install and upgrade our x-ray machines to strengthen vigilance and prevent the entry of smuggled and contraband goods in the Philippines,” Guerrero said.
He added that the additional x-ray machines are significant to efforts to enhance BOC’s non-intrusive inspection of shipments.
Guerrero noted that x-ray inspection has helped the customs bureau intensify its campaign against illicit trade, resulting in the apprehension of billions of pesos worth of illegal drugs.
In 2017, BOC also installed 19 new x-ray units in the three terminals of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and in Davao International Airport. Another seven new hand-carried x-ray units were installed in NAIA terminals in 2018.