Former Trade Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba
MANILA, Philippines – Former Trade Undersecretary Vic Dimagiba suggested returning all smuggled goods to its country of origin.
His proposal to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) was prompted by the successive interception of smuggled goods, particularly rice and onions, valued at hundreds of millions of pesos.
Dimagiba said returning the goods would minimize corruption in the agency.
“For as long as it stays there, iyong mga ‘operator,’ papasok na iyan dyan (sasabihin), ‘Boss, gawan natin ng paraan mailalabas natin yan’,” he said.
(For as long as it stays there, so-called “operators” will take the opportunity to solicit bribes in exchange for the shipment’s release saying, “Boss, let’s find a way to release these.”)
But according to BOC, the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippine and the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act has no provision for returning smuggled shipment. The government also has no means to shoulder the shipping cost. BOC also believes that government has ways to apprehend the smugglers once the shipment reaches the country.
“Kapag nakita natin na may ibang laman mas maganda po yun kasi ipo- prosecute natin sila,” Carmelita Valeroso, the OIC of CIIC-MICP-BOC
(If we discover that contents have been misdeclared, that’s actually better because we can prosecute them.)
Dimagiba suggests that BOC should be more strict and apply the pre-shipping inspection system right there in the country of origin before shipping to the Philippines, like what the agency is doing now with cement products.
“Pagdating mo dito meron ka nang certificate. Kukuha ka nalang ng sample sa mga hardware to verify kung tama o hindi,” Dimagiba said.
(When you arrive here, you already have a certificate. All you have to do is get a sample from the hardware to verify if its correct or not.) — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue