PNP commits support to thwart smuggling in PH

Published May 29, 2018, 4:07 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Martin Sadongdong 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) today reiterated its commitment to support the national government in addressing smuggling issues, which, up to this day, continue to paralyze the country’s economic gains.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde admitted that smuggling of goods and illegal drugs remain rampant in the country because of its archipelagic nature.

Newly appointed PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde speaks during a press conference at Camp Crame, April 20 , 2018. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)
Newly appointed PNP Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde speaks during a press conference at Camp Crame, April 20, 2018. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Alam naman nating lahat itong smuggling still persists sa ating bansa dahil unang-una marami tayong islands and nakakapasok ang smuggled goods through the backdoor (We all know that smuggling still persists in our country because first, we have so many islands and the smuggled goods are being spirited into it through the backdoor),” said Albayalde, who was among the speakers during the Anti-Illicit Trade Summit in Makati City.

During the summit, it was revealed that a total of P904.6 billion worth of smuggled goods were slipped into the country from 2011 to 2015.

It resulted in a P495.5-billion decrease in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), P1.1 -trillion decrease in gross output, P77.2-billion decrease in household income and 291,070 displaced workers in various fields.

However, Albayalde was quick to note the efforts of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in its fight against smuggling of goods and illegal drugs, where Customs officials highlighted their accomplishments under the leadership of Commissioner Isidro Lapeña.

It includes the reduction of the bureau’s deficit from P20 billion to P10 billion and the recorded all-time high monthly collection of P41 billion, P42 billion, P46 billion and P44 billion from September to December 2017.

Also notable was the Custom’s destruction of smuggled luxury cars with estimated value of P61.6 million as witnessed by President Duterte in February 2018.

Anti-crime council

The organizers of the summit also convened the members of the newly formed Anti-Crime Council of the Philippines (ACCP), which will be headed by Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Ronald dela Rosa, who also was a speaker during the event.

Dela Rosa said he would coordinate with other law enforcement agencies to determine if Tokhang (knock and plead) operations, his primary campaign against illegal drugs during his stint as PNP chief, could be used in the anti-smuggling efforts of the ACCP.

“Malaki na grupo ito. We will plan this with the help of the government. Pwede siguro with the coordination of Bureau of Customs because that is their field, their mandate. Tingnan natin kung pwede Tokhangin itong mga smugglers (The groups involved [in smuggling] are big ones. We will plan this with the help of the government. We can probably do this with the coordination of Bureau of Customs because that is their field, their mandate. Let us see if we can conduct Tokhang operations against the smugglers),” dela Rosa said.

Albayalde said that for the PNP’s part, they will be ready to provide support by deploying district and regional mobile forces in conducting Tokhang operations against the identified smugglers.

“Probably ang suporta natin is on the security side kung kakailanganin ng security and reinforcement, then we will readily provide sa kanila (Probably the support that we can offer is on the security side, if they will be needing security and reinforcement, then we will readily provide it to them),” he stated.

Anti-Illicit Trade Summit

The Anti-Illicit Trade Summit facilitated dialogues between the government, law enforcement agencies, civil society and the private sector to strengthen collaboration and enforcement against violators who are involved in smuggling and illegal commerce.

It was organized by the Fight Illicit Trade Movement (Fight IT), the anti-smuggling arm of the Federation of Philippine Industries.

 
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