CEBU CITY—The Bureau of Customs on Tuesday stopped the release of seven container vans with suspected smuggled items at the Cebu International Port (CIP).
Edward dela Cuesta, Cebu Customs collector, said four of the container vans carried vehicles declared as parts. Three others contained used tires declared only as tires, used clothes declared as rags and barrels of industrial oil declared as general oil.
Seized were eight motorcycles that included a BMW and right hand drive cars from Japan.
The BMW motorcycle, which appeared to be brand new, and Suzuki motorcycles had their handles and seats detached from the body while the rest of the vehicles were disassembled into parts, Dela Cuesta said.
Dela Cuesta said the importation of right-hand drive vehicles, used tires and used clothes had been prohibited while the customs duties on industrial oil is higher than that on general oil.
While the importation of motor vehicles is allowed, an importer has to present a certificate of first ownership for brand new vehicles or an authority to import for used vehicles.
Dela Cuesta said he had issued a warrant of seizure and detention for the container vans Friday last week.
Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, who was present during the opening of the container vans, also inspected three of 312 container vans with smuggled rice shipment from Vietnam.
The 312 container vans, which contains 264,000 sacks of premium rice, will be auctioned off on Aug. 7.
According to Biazon, the auction will go on as scheduled despite an ongoing investigation on the pilferage of more than 200 sacks of rice from some of the container vans.
He said the seized smuggled rice must be auctioned off before they rot.
Biazon said the bureau has identified the persons involved in the pilferage.
The bureau is struggling to cope with an image of corruption after a series of smuggling cases went unsolved.
President Aquino, in his fourth State of the Nation Address, castigated the bureau for the continuing corruption among its officials and employees. With a report from Irene Sino Cruz, Inquirer Visayas