Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

BoC, BIR told: Tax used car importers

By Rey E. Requejo, Manila Standard

Senator Richard Gordon yesterday called on the customs and internal revenue bureaus to go after the importers of used cars in Subic Bay Free Port that defrauded the government billions of pesos in taxes for the past several years.

Gordon, who presided over the Senate hearing on the importation of used cars and right-hand drive vehicles into the Subic Bay Free Port Zone, challenged both agencies to prosecute all the people involved in this travesty.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on government corporation and public enterprises, earlier said the government lost P13 billion in taxes due to undervaluation of imported used cars in Subic alone.

Citing documents submitted by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Gordon said that a total of 90,000 motor vehicles were imported into Subic by various locators and trading companies. Of this number, only 128 were reexported; the rest remained in the country.

Each unit of used car was declared by importers at an average price of $500, way too low for the Mitsubishi Pajeros, Isuzu Troopers, and BMWs that abound in the auction yards all over Subic.

“The taxes they pay are based on the misdeclared value of the vehicles, and then they are sold for at least P300,000 per unit,” Gordon said.

“After covering the cost of goods and other expenses, including bribes, the importers would have netted close to P10 billion in three years, and in doing so, deprived the government of P12.9 billion in potential revenues from duties and taxes, if they were honest about conducting their business in the first place,” the senator said.

Gordon also alleged that bribes have been given to SBMA, BoC and Land Transportation Office personnel to affect these transactions. He also linked the Magsaysay family of Zambales to the Subic Bay Motors Corp., a company engaged in the auction of used motor vehicles.

“Millions of pesos are lost due to unscrupulous people,” he said, adding that the government must not allow these nefarious activities to continue in Subic.

This came in the wake of Gordon’s disclosure that Malacañang plans to reopen the importation of used motor vehicles into Subic by rescinding Executive Order 156, which was issued in 2002 and prohibited the importation of such vehicles.


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