GARIN SUGGESTS HOUSE PROBE ON ALLEGED PLASTIC SMUGGLING
Alarmed by the report of the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) that Filipinos had been deprived of P1.33 trillion in government revenues from 2002 to 2011 due to technical smuggling, a lawmaker has urged Congress to investigate the smuggling of plastic resins allegedly committed by big importers in the country.
AAMBIS-Owa Party-list Representative Sharon Garin files House Resolution 1603 directing the House Committee on Ways and Means to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, to ensure that revenues from resin products are properly collected by the government.
Garin is the vice chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
FPI identified resins, plastic packaging materials, and PVC pipes as some of the commodities being smuggled.
Technical smuggling, as opposed to outright smuggling, is the undervaluation, under declaration of the volume shipped, misclassification and diversion of cargoes.
Using names and code names, Inquirer.net published on February 3, 2014 a list of alleged smugglers. The list was sourced from a Bureau of Customs (BOC) official who refused to be named.
In the report, plastic resin topped the list of imports subjected to technical smuggling.
Plastic resin is a key raw material used in var-ious consumer items, appliances and construction materials. It is also a main component of packaging materials for beverages and food products.
“Reports of trillions of pesos allegedly lost due to smuggling are appalling! Congress should flex its muscles to put pressure on the Customs Bureau to curb smuggling. If it has been happening for more than a decade now, there must be some officials in the BOC in cohorts with the smugglers,” Rep. Garin pointed out.
Anonymous customs official revealed in the Inquirer.net report that there is not even a complete or concise recording of identified revenue losses due to technical smuggling happening in Philippine ports.
House Resolution 1603 aims to direct the BOC to identify in exact terms the losses allegedly incurred by the government to smuggling and the industries being affected by it to help Congress plug the policy gaps in order to help the BOC fulfill its mandate in revenue generation and port regulation.
“Undervaluation of plastic resins is hurting not just the petrochemical industry, but also the entire Philippine economy. For this, Congress must investigate the big importers named in the newspaper report. BOC officials must also be called to explain why burglary in such a scandalous magnitude continues to happen,” Rep. Garin said. /MP