Cebu Customs sees no steel smugglingBy Irene R. Sino Cruz
CEBU CITY—Cebu Customs District Collector Ronnie Silvestre has come to the defense of a Cebu-based steel importer accused of smuggling of steel products in Cebu.
He stressed that the documents submitted by Joyland Industry, a steel manufacturer, to support its shipment from China appeared to be genuine.
Silvestre was reacting to reports criticizing him for supposedly turning a blind eye on the alleged smuggling of steel products in Cebu.
The reports quoted the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (Pisi) as complaining about alleged technical smuggling by 15 importers, including the Cebu-based Joyland Industries, through undervaluation of iron and steel products from China.
But Silvestre said the 14 documents submitted by Joyland appeared to be valid.
“There is a letter of credit that provides proof of payment. There is a summary of load port survey report (LPSR) that indicates volume and value of the shipment, the sales contract, the mill certificate. You cannot just set aside these documents (because) there is no proof that these are fake,” Silvestre said.
The LPSR has been certified by a duly accredited marine cargo surveyor, that is independent, at the country of origin with regards to the items and the value of the goods, he added.
The other documents included bills of lading, commercial invoices, packing lists, sales contracts, pricing agreements, freight certificate and certificates of origin.
But when the Customs appraiser in Cebu saw that the declared value of the shipment was lower than the reference value, they referred this to the Valuation and Classification Review Committee (VCRC) for review and disposition, Silvestre explained.
Pending disposition of the case, the Cebu Customs released Joyland’s steel imports, he added.
Aside from this, the company itself was still undergoing audit by the Post Entry Audit Group under the office of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon.
Silvestre also decried the allegations that he had turned a blind eye on technical smuggling at the Cebu port.
He recalled that in 2011, a Joyland importation was also challenged before the VCRC but after due presentation of the evidence, hearing and deliberation, it accepted the declared Customs value.
This shipment is still subject to an ongoing post entry audit.