By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos
President Duterte is dead set on sending a message to smugglers after ordering the destruction of some 70 smuggled luxury cars seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Malacañang confirmed this week that Duterte ordered an end to the practice of putting confiscated luxury cars up for auction.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, in a press briefing in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, confirmed Duterte’s attendance in the destruction of the vehicles but will not stay there for long due to scheduled commitments.
“If I’m not mistaken parang (I think it’s around) 70 [cars] but don’t take that as gospel truth,” Roque said Saturday when asked about the number of cars which will be bulldozed on Tuesday.
“He will not stay long there so he will not be able to witness the destruction of all vehicles because he will still have to grace the NEDA anniversary,” he added.
Roque said the bulldozing of smuggled luxury cars will now be government policy.
“The thing speaks for itself. Hindi na po siya magto-tolerate ng mga auction-auction na nagiging dahilan para makapag-smuggle nga ng mga mamahaling mga sasakyan (He will not tolerate putting these vehicles up for auction as this becomes reason to smuggle luxury cars),” he said.
“It will now become policy to bulldoze smuggled luxury vehicles,” he added.
Roque also said that even if there are suggestions to just use the smuggled luxury cars as government vehicles, the President has already made up his mind.
“The President has already decided to send a message to smugglers that their happy days are over, we will bulldoze those cars,” he said.
On November, 2017, the BOC seized P24.3 million worth of used luxury cars and overweight steel products at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) from Australia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and China.
Among the vehicles confiscated were a 2012 Lamborghini Glardo, a 2006 Lamborghini Murcielago, and a white 2005 Ferrari F430.
The shipments which arrived in 2016 and May, 2017 all came from UAE.
Two months earlier, the BOC was also able to seize a used black Mercedes Benz, used white Mercedez Benz, wheel and tires, from Hong Kong. The shipment, arrived in August, 2017 at the MICP, was valued at P10 million.
In September, 2016, the BOC also placed on hold the release of seven brand new luxury Mercedez Benz vehicles while investigating the alleged undervaluation of payment of millions of pesos of duties and taxes.
In July, 2016, the BOC in Northern Mindanao seized three classic Mercedes Benz and Porsche cars from the United States valued at P4 million. The imported goods arrived at the terminal a month before.