Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Calimlim acts vs P1-B Tax scam in Subic

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT- In an effort to curb oil smuggling in the country, Gen. Jose Calimlim, Chief of the Anti-Smuggling Task Force of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and Subic Customs Collector Marietta Zamoranos recently joined hands with the Philippine Coastal Corp. in auditing imported oil here.

Customs insiders said oil smuggling there hits P1 billion a year excise taxes. “Whatever they do, they can’t hide documents that tell the truth on oil smuggling,” a high placed source Kabayan said. The source added that the efforts of Calimlim and Zamoranos could only temporarily seal off the main valve of the pumping station of the Subic Bay Distribution Inc. (SBDI) and Subic Bay Fuel Co. Inc. (SBFCI).

In their move, Calimlim and Zamoranos were assisted by Atty. Joy Alvarado, chief of staff of SBMA administrator Alfredo C. Antonio. Witnessing the sealing off was senior accounting and finance controller Jin Sukanya Tindanuwat of PTT Coastal petroleum, one of the biggest companies in Thailand and part owner of the SBFCI, which supplies the bulk of the Subic Bay Freeport’s fuel requirements.

“The inventory and audit will result in a database which will ensure that the government will be collecting the proper taxes,” Calimlim said during the operation.

He said that Task Force Subic received reports of alleged technical smuggling of fuel and other oil products, particularly through the misdeclaration of high- octane gasoline as diesel, or aviation gas as plain petroleum, to avoid paying higher taxes on premium fuels.

He added that the seals would only be removed during inventory of fuel stocks or when a transaction would occur but would be put in place again after the delivery through the pipeline.

Zamoranos said that Customs collection from business in the Freeport zone averages P300 million yearly “ and almost 50 percent, usually never less than P100 million, comes from taxes and duties on petroleum products.” She added that the documentation on oil shipments and deliveries before was haphazard or inaccurate and there was no check-and-balance. Sukanya said PTT has welcomed the move, stating that a regular inventory and audit would protect the reputation of the firm. She further said that as the biggest company in Thailand, PTT wants to protect its name.

The system was approved by the agencies formed by Task Force Subic and PTT-SBDI-SBFCI, to enhance the monitoring of fuel distribution through the pipeline, and make sure that the fuel deliveries would be taxed accordingly.

The BOC speculated that the government would earn around P100 million to P300 million per month on tax charges on the petroleum products.

The Subic-Clark Pipeline has a capacity of 22,000 barrels, with a power to pump 800 barrels an hour.


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