BOC destroys P157-M worth of cigarette-making machines, Ferrari

BOC destroys P157-M worth of cigarette-making machines, Ferrari

MANILA — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Tuesday destroyed various items worth PHP157 million in Port Area, Manila.

Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero and Undersecretary Jesus Melchor Quitain, officer-in-charge of Office of the Special Assistant to the President, together with other Customs officials, witnessed the destruction of a PHP7 million second-hand Ferrari luxury vehicle, 12 units of cigarette-making machines and more than 1,000 master cases of various brands of counterfeit cigarettes worth PHP150 million.

The shipment containing the high-end sports car arrived at the Port of Manila on May 13. It was initially declared as used auto spare parts and was declared abandoned and forfeited pursuant to Section 1129 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

It was only upon physical examination that a Customs examiner found out that the shipment actually contained a Ferrari with both doors and the hub dismantled from the main body.

Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla, said the car shipment, which came from Italy, was consigned to Camama Autohub.

“Even without that (doors and hub) we consider that as a completely built unit (CBU). It will not qualify as a semi knockdown (SKD),” he said in an interview.

The BOC official noted that the consignee of the shipment might be thinking of two schemes.

“No. 1, I think when they declared it as auto parts, they thought that it could be smuggled as SKD (semi-knocked-down). SKD has paint, no doors, no chairs, but has wheels. So they were trying to make it appear that it’s a SKD so it can be declared as used auto parts. However, it would still not qualify as used auto parts, they could have still declared it as SKD,” he said.

“No. 2, second-hand unit and under Executive Order 156 a ban on importation of second hand vehicles unless you are a returning resident, an overseas Filipino worker or a member of the diplomatic corps,” Maronilla added.

Meanwhile, the fake cigarettes and imported cigarette-making machines were seized last February by elements of the BOC-Enforcement and Security Service (ESS) from a warehouse located in Barangay Bagacay, Tacloban City, after its owner failed to present proof of payment of duties and taxes.

Maronilla said that the condemnation of the items seized in Tacloban City, is to underscore that such illegal importations are not only happening in Metro Manila but also in the provinces.

“We wanted to highlight. What we present to you is always from Bulacan, Valenzuela, or Malabon. We wanted to highlight illicit cigarette activities and importation of these are not just limited to Luzon or National Capital Region (NCR). It is actually very rampant in the provinces,” he said.

“These cigarettes, they make cheaper version of it. They imitate and sell it at a cheaper price. So we want to highlight that in the province of Leyte there are activities of manufacture of illegal cigarettes. These were manufactured there, not in NCR,” the Customs official added.

Warrants of Seizure and Detention (WSD) were issued against the said machines, which were eventually forfeited under Sections 1401 and 1113 of the CMTA. While several master cases of counterfeit cigarettes were seized pursuant to the said provisions of the CMTA and RA 8293, also known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.

The BOC added that the seizure and destruction of the said goods serve as warning to smugglers and manufacturers of fake cigarettes.

“This is in line with the directive of Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez to the Bureau to closely monitor the importation and manufacture of illegal cigarettes,” the Bureau said in a statement.

On the other hand, Maronilla added that the scraps of the car will be turned over to an accredited rendering facility for disposal.  Ferdinand Patinio / PNA –