COA flags Customs for 6,985 overstaying containers
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for allowing some 6,985 containers filled with rice, refined sugar and donated goods overstay in its ports.
According to the annual audit report of the COA, some containers have been left to rot from 30 days to up to 25 years, even though BOC regulations state that abandoned perishable goods, or those unclaimed after a month, should be auctioned off.
Other goods should also be disposed of in accordance with the law.
State auditors said the bulk of the overstaying perishable goods were rice and refined sugar that lacked necessary importation permits.
“Considering the length of time the above goods stayed in the yard, there is a risk of deterioration or spoilage and therefore is unsafe for human consumption, thus, may not be feasible for auction and depriving government of revenues,” the report said.
Meanwhile, 17 containers contain goods and articles for donations to various government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, including the Philippine Red Cross.
For calamity victims
The donations were meant for calamity-stricken communities, and the delay in releasing the cargo containers defeats the purpose for which the goods and articles were donated, the COA said.
The audit body said that the BOC’s inaction has also led to loss of government revenues, which could have been earned from disposal or collection of assessed duties and taxes of said overstaying and abandoned cargoes.
Other than refined sugar and rice, the COA also found that the BOC has 22 containers at Manila International Container Terminal full of various vehicles, including several luxury cars.
“[Exposure] to depreciation or deterioration may diminish the income to be derived from its auction,” the audit body said.
Another 880 containers do not have information and remains uninspected, so their contents cannot be offered for auction.
Since the contents are uninspected, the contents could also pose a risk or hazard to the port, the report said.