BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Alleged Smuggler* Speaks Up

My reply: 

Dear Counsel for Sanyo Seiki:

Indeed, you are right in saying that it is not the number of cases filed but the quality of the complaint that matters.

But pray tell me how the filing of smuggling cases involving a handful of onions -- by Customs standards -- can be considered of good quality when every Tom, Dick and Harry in the bureau knows how much is really lost in smuggling? 

We are talking of billions here  Mr. Counsel and as the World Bank and the Department of Finance have noted, P60 billion in potential revenues are lost to smuggling every year. Simply arithmetic would show that theoretically at that number, the government is losing an average of P5 billion a month to smuggling. 

The BOC files smuggling cases at least twice a month. Since Commissioner Ruffy Biazon took over in September, the agency has yet to file a smuggling case that is worth at least a billion. It has so far filed cases involving the smuggling of either onions, computer-related equipment or rubber shoes. Last February 9, it filed a P21-million smuggling case against traders of motor vehicles. How's that for quality?

On the other hand, the records of past Run After the Smugglers (RATS) programs can show what quality means. But then again, we may have a different understanding of what "quality" is.


Iris Gonzales

*Sanyo Seiki was the subject of a smuggling case filed by the BOC in the past. It has vehemently denied any involvement in smuggling activities.