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.

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