Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, March 31, 2006

Go after bigtime smugglers in Subic-Clark, Osmeña tells BoC

Senator Sergio Osmeña III challenged the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to also go after bigtime smugglers and not just on small retailers like those raided at 168 Shopping Mall in Divisoria two weeks ago.

Osmeña said the BoC was barking up at the wrong tree when they raided legitimate stall owners at 168 mall whose only fault was they bought their goods and wares without receipts.

According to Osmeña, BoC Commissioner Napoleon Morales should give priority to rampant smuggling operations at Subic Freeport in Zambales, Clark in Angeles City, Pampanga and Batangas City port.

Don’t raid retailers but the smugglers of goods in container vans. They are there in Subic, Clark and Batangas Ports, Osmeña said.

The senator from Cebu stated that legitimate retailers are just buying their goods from known importers and usually they do it without receipts since they have been used to it ever since in Divisoria.

“When you buy from a supplier, say a T-shirt, do you ask if taxes were paid for the T-shirt?,” Osmeña said.

Earlier, BoC and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents raided the 168 Mall in Division following mounting complaints aired by the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) to President Arroyo about the alleged rampant selling of smuggled goods at very low price in the said mall that affected their business.

It is estimated that there are about 800 stall owner at 168 mall while about 3,000 vendors and helpers were affected as a result of the lightning raid conducted by the BoC. (Rolly T. Carandang -Tempo)


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