PHILSTAR

THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) collected P29 million in additional duties from smuggled farm produce in 2021 after scanning shipments entering the country’s ports, it said on Friday. 

“The seized shipments with issued warrants of seizure and detention were found to contain misdeclared and undeclared goods,” the BoC said in a press release. 

The bureau had issued 50 warrants after scanning over 66,000 shipments containing agricultural goods last year. 

The misdeclared or undeclared goods were found to have violated an administrative order of the Department of Agriculture, or the guidelines on for importing farm goods. 

The Senate has been conducting an inquiry into the smuggling of farm produce, with Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III alleging corrupt practices by Customs personnel. 

The bureau last year transferred over 700 employees and dismissed three due to “irregular and unlawful activities,” including corruption and violations of customs rules. 

Meanwhile, the bureau plans to donate over 6,000 liters of unmarked diesel fuel it seized to the Philippine Coast Guard, the Department of Finance (DoF) said in a press release Friday. 

The bureau signed an agreement with the Coast Guard to use the diesel fuel seized in September for anti-smuggling operations. 

“The Port of Clark ordered the confiscation of the diesel fuel, which was found at a retail gas station in Arayat, Pampanga after a composite team of the BoC and the Bureau of Internal Revenue had conducted field tests and detected the absence of the fuel marker supposed to be injected into tax-paid oil products,” the DoF said. 

The Customs district collector in the Clark port forfeited the fuel in favor of the government after the management of the gas station — the Luzon Petromobil Integrated Service Stations, Inc. — officially abandoned its claim on the seized products. 

The government aims to deter fuel smuggling by injecting a special dye into fuel products to signify tax compliance. Absence of the dye is deemed evidence that the fuel was smuggled. 

Fuel products that are unmarked, have diluted markers or have counterfeit markers are subject to duties and taxes. 

Duties and taxes collected from marked fuel products since the launch of the program in 2019 have totaled P324.46 billion as of Nov. 25, 2021. — J.P. Ibañez