Cargo pre-shipment inspection could thwart drug smuggling –Atienza
Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza urged President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday to order the compulsory pre-shipment inspection (PSI) of all containerized imports to prevent the large-scale smuggling of illegal drugs into the country.
Atienza renewed his call for the mandatory PSI after the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said around P11 billion worth of “shabu” slipped past the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in July. In 2017, Atienza also pushed for the passage of a new law requiring pre-shipment inspection.
“The President is in a position to administratively direct the mandatory PSI at the country of origin of all containerized cargoes destined for the Philippines,” he said in a statement.
Atienza noted that an estimated P21 billion worth of illegal drugs were smuggled through the Port of Manila in three batches between May 2017 to July 2018. The smuggled drugs arrived in shipping containers from China, Malaysia, and Taiwan, he said.
PSI is a practice used mostly in developing countries to require importers to engage an accredited third-party surveyor to verify the shipment details, including the price, and quantity and quality of goods before they are exported.
It is used to prevent the undervaluation of taxable imports and to compensate the inadequacies in the importing country’s Customs and other administrative structures, according to the World Trade Organization.
Atienza said PSI would also end the corruption in the BOC since the illegal drugs would not be smuggled into the country.
“Only those engaged in smuggling as well as rotten officials are opposed to PSI, because they stand to lose a lot of money from their rackets at the BOC,” he said.
Atienza added that the BOC could increase its annual collection of import taxes by 50 percent, or by P350 billion, once PSI is in place for containerized cargo.
“We are counting on PSI to effectively prevent not only illegal drug shipments, but also the widespread smuggling of high-value farm products, cars, electronics, apparel and what have you, stashed in containers,” he said. /muf
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