By Betheena Unite
The government on Friday started implementing the Fuel Marking Program, a measure to curb oil smuggling, through a live marking of petroleum products in Batangas.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero along with officials from the Department of Finance (DOF) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) led the first live marking of petroleum products at the Sea Oil Bulk Terminal in Mabini, Batangas.
According to the bureau, random field testing will be conducted in the next few months on depots, tank trucks and retail stations in order to determine the presence and dilution level of the fuel marker on fuels which are subjected to marking.
This activity will continue until the market is saturated with marked fuels, the Customs bureau added.
“A confirmatory testing will be conducted immediately on fuels found to be unmarked or with marker levels below the prescribed dilution level and corresponding duties and taxes will be collected from oil companies found to have unmarked or diluted fuels,” Guerrero emphasized.
”The program aims to plug revenue leakages from oil smuggling by placing a molecular marker on imported, manufactured and refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene,” he added.
Under Section 148-A of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 10963, otherwise known as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) and DOF-BOC-BIR Joint Circular No. 001.2019, stocktaking shall be conducted on all tax paid gasoline, diesel and kerosene stored in all depots/terminals.
Fuel marking program is an anti-oil smuggling scheme “envisioned to curb illicit trade of petroleum products and shall be mandatory for five years.”
It will be implemented “to plug leakages caused by fuel fraud” and is expected to help return the stolen revenue to the government.
Prior to the first live marking of petroleum products, the three agencies also conducted a simulation of the marking and testing process at the Philippine Coastal Storage and Pipeline Corporation (PCSPC) in Subic.
Both activities were conducted with the coordination of the fuel marking provider, SICPA –SGS and PTT Philippines.