House panel to probe entry of second-hand vehicles in BOC ports

THE House Committee on Ways and Means will expand its probe on the alleged undervaluation of imported vehicles to include the illegal importation of secondhand vehicles in some ports in the country.

The House Sub-committee on Customs, Tariff and Related Laws chaired by Rep. Rodolfo Farinas (1st District, Ilocos Norte) decided to expand its probe amid reports of continued entry of secondhand imported vehicles particularly in the Ports of Cebu and Davao.

Rep. Milagros Magsaysay (2nd District, Zambales) said she has been receiving reports that used imported vehicles are allegedly allowed entry in these two ports despite an existing ban on all types of used motor vehicles.

“How are these vehicles able to enter these ports? Paano sila nakakapasok?,” Magsaysay said.

Magsaysay explained that the ban imposed by former President Arroyo has not been lifted, and this was confirmed by BOC district collectors present during the subcommittee’s hearing last week.

According to Talik Pablo, District Collector of the BOC-Port of Subic, the ban was issued by Arroyo in 1996 through Executive Order 156.

The EO bans the importation of all types of used motor vehicles and parts and components, except those that may be allowed under certain conditions.

Juan Tan, District Collector of the BOC-Port Batangas said only vehicles with permits from the BIS (Bureau of Import Services) are exempted from the importation ban. Pablo said, however, that even those with BIS permits are now covered by the ban.

The issue on importation of used vehicles cropped up in the course of the subcommittee’s inquiry into House Resolution 709 authored by Magsaysay regarding alleged connivance of the Bureau of Customs officials with manufacturers and distributors of imported vehicles, which were either assembled in the country or completely imported.
This has caused the undervaluation of taxes and duties assessed on the said vehicles from the period 2007 to date, thereby resulting in billions of pesos in lost revenues for the government.

Lawmakers demanded an end to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) practice of depriving imported vehicle buyers with proof that the taxes for their purchased vehicles have been actually paid by importers. They demanded that imported vehicle buyers be given copies of the receipts issued by the BOC to importers to show that the importers paid the right amount
of taxes.

Magsaysay said the official receipt for the tax payment should be among the documents handed over to vehicle buyers when completing their purchase for their own security and protection.

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