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Amid the escalating word war between the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and industry stakeholders over “rampant rice smuggling,” the Department of Finance has prioritized the reconciliation of conflicting statistics relating to trade and commerce between the Philippines and its trading partners.
The resignation of Ruffy Biazon as Bureau of Customs chief continues to be the “talk of the town” among Filipinos who are concerned with the way the Aquino administration is handling the smuggling problem in the Philippines.
This has reference to Ramon Tulfo’s column titled “Blowing the lid off oil smuggling” (Metro, Inquirer, 4/4/13).
This has reference to Neal H. Cruz’s Jan. 16 column titled “Sugar being smuggled through Cebu port.”
By Peter Wallace
A remarkable year 2012 was. In his time, President Fidel Ramos brought about some dramatic changes in the business environment—changes that to this day we are still benefiting from. He deregulated the key sectors—sectors that are now vibrant and competitive: telecom (there would be few cell phones today if PLDT had retained its monopoly), power (we’d still be having blackouts), oil and banking.
This refers to Neal H. Cruz’s column titled “Economic processing zones being used for smuggling” (Inquirer, 12/14/12). We wish to state that there was nothing irregular with the way we handled the situation, contrary to what some quarters are insinuating. Very briefly, here is the chronology of events: • On Nov. 22, 2012, subject shipment [...]
By Neal H. Cruz
That our economic processing zones are being used for smuggling is nothing new, but the smugglers have become bolder. Last Nov. 29, Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon personally supervised the seizure of seven 20-foot container vans of white Thailand sugar worth at least P7 million that were consigned to two locators at the Mactan Economic Processing Zone (Mepza) in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu. The shipments in a total of 10 containers arrived at the Cebu International Port (CIP) on Nov. 2.
I must sincerely sympathize with Bureau of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon; he very humbly responded to Rigoberto Tiglao’s Nov. 15 column highlighting the bureau’s poor performance, essentially owing to rampant smuggling, under the present administration (Inquirer, 11/16/12). In the same breath, I must also express my high admiration for Biazon’s untempered truthfulness and courage in objectively reacting to Tiglao’s deeply pugnacious, yet fairly convincing, assertions. Indeed, that was a gallant feat of Biazon never yet exhibited by any of this country’s Cabinet secretaries, past or present.
By Rigoberto Tiglao
Smuggling in the Philippines is at its worst under President Aquino’s administration, with the smuggled value averaging $19.6 billion annually, an explosion from the comparable figures of $3.1 billion and $3.8 billion yearly during the terms of Presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, respectively.
By Rina Jimenez-David
Increased smuggling, tobacco farmers losing their livelihood, even the rights of individuals who, despite countless warnings, persist in maintaining their smoking habit—all these have been brought up as “legitimate” concerns that legislators should take into consideration as they debate and get ready to vote on the “sin tax” bill.
By Neal H. Cruz
Was it a case of smuggling or not? The Bureau of Customs (BOC) says it was. The shipper says it wasn’t. Here are the facts: A shipment of 420,000 sacks of high-quality rice stored in two warehouses at the Subic Bay Freeport was seized by the BOC. Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon claimed the shipment from India was undocumented and, therefore, illegally imported into the Philippines, making it a proper subject of seizure proceedings.
The seizure last week of nearly P500 million worth of smuggled rice abandoned at the Subic free port was a big boost to the government’s war on economic crimes. But the size of the haul—430,000 50-kilo sacks of rice in about 1,000 containers—also showed how big and brazen smuggling has become.