Sunday, December 04, 2005

BoC seized P500m worth of goods

By Lawrence Agcaoili Manila Standard Today

The Bureau of Customs seized in 10 months only P500 million of the about P100 billion worth of smuggled goods in the country every year.

Customs officer-in-charge Alexander Arevalo said the goods were intercepted in several ports all over the country.

“We have seized a total of almost P500 million worth of smuggled goods at the ports,” he said.

The BoC, according to him, like any other customs agencies in the world, could only expect a maximum of 5 percent to 10 percent of all shipments.

“Let me clarify that in order to address the issue of smuggling requires a lot of sophistication. The BoC and any customs agency in the world can only inspect a maximum of 5 to 10 percent of all shipments,” Arevalo stressed.

To address this, Arevalo pointed out the agency expects to complete its computerization program by the middle of next year.

He said seven new containerized X-ray machines would be installed in five major ports by the second or third quarter of next year.

“I would like to call it a paradox of smuggling. The measure of accomplishment in smuggling is that you only accomplish when you don’t catch anything anymore,” he said.

The government loses between P100 billion and P150 billion in potential revenues due to rampant smuggling. The amount is enough to almost wipe out the country’s yawning budget deficit.

The government is losing as much as P9.5 billion in potential revenues every year from oil smuggling alone. Losses last year comprised of P7 billion in excise tax payments and P2.5 billion in import duties.

12 Olongapo jail inmates escape

Twelve prisoners escaped after destroying the roof of the main detention building Friday night in Olongapo City, police said.

Sketchy reports reaching Camp Crame operations center identified the escapees as a certain Ali, Alvin Batua, Marlon Bagting, Reneboy Dagamat, Sonny Francisco, Abdrul Rakman, all facing charges on illegal drugs; Billy Udtuhan, murder; Roderick Tiu, parricide and abortion; Joseph Ramirez, robbery with homicide; Ronald Aquino, robbery with multiple homicide and Delio Quinagin and Allan Cuanzon, rape.

It was learned that the escapees managed to flee by making an improvised wooden bridge which they used to climb the roof of the female detention building and main perimeter fence.

Jail guards only discovered the jail break during a head count of the prisoners.

Police operatives are currently conducting a follow-up operation for the immediate arrest of the prisoners. (Francis T. Wakefield) TEMPO

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