Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, February 20, 2009

Used car exports from Subic OK - Solgen

The re-exportation of used vehicles from Subic Bay Freeport is allowed by the country’s laws, the Office of the Solicitor General said in an advice to the Bureau of Customs.

Acting Subic Customs Collector Errol Albano released a copy of Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera’s Aug. 8, 2008 letter on the issue as the BoC came in conflict with the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) over the PASG’s refusal to release 325 used cars that are supposedly destined for Hong Kong.

“It is our considered view that there would be no legal impediment to the re-exportation of subject used motor vehicles to a third country,” Devanadera said in a reply to Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales’ query last year.

Morales sought guidance on the fate of more than 3,000 used vehicles ordered held by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority after November 2007 in compliance with a Supreme Court decision that banned the importation and sale of used vehicles outside the Subic freeport.

The ruling was issued in relation to Executive Order 156 through which the government outlined the policies in the development of a motor vehicle industry.

In giving legal views on the re-export, Devanadera cited the same Supreme Court ruling that stated that “used motor vehicles that come into the Philippine territory via the secured fenced-in former Subic Naval Base may be stored, used or traded therein, or exported out of the Philippine territory.”

Devanadera also said Republic Act 7227, or the bases conversion law, “laid down a minimum interference policy of the government” on investors and allowed them to “import and export freely all types of goods into and out of the Subic Bay Freeport.”

That jurisdiction, she said, lies with the SBMA.

PASG chief, Antonio Villar Jr., said he has no quarrel with Devanadera’s views.

“The point [in the case of the 325 cars] is, ‘Are trading companies doing the exportation properly?’ The lack of documents showed otherwise,” Villar said in a telephone interview.

The rush in the loading, discrepancies in the number of exporters and cars, as well as the non-submission of proof of purchase, “makes this very suspicious,” he said. By Tonette Orejas - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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