House panel sets inquiry into smuggling at Subic | Inquirer News

House panel sets inquiry into smuggling at Subic

/ 05:15 AM January 10, 2023

A lawmaker has slammed the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority’s (SBMA) supposed “nonchalance” over the incidence of smuggling at the Subic freeport, as he claimed that the port undercharges tariffs per container van.

Rep. Joey Salceda, chair of House ways and means committee, said his panel “will hear reports of smuggling in Subic one by one, per major product line, until we get to the bottom of all such issues regardless of what SBMA wants or believes.”

“We are now in possession of credible information that the Subic port undercharges tariffs per container van by just as much as 1/8th of the actual tariff dues, or in peso terms, some P100,000 per container van of imported meat instead of P800,000,” he said on Monday.


“We are prepared to name names at the proper time. For now, we will protect our sources,” Salceda added.


The economist turned lawmaker made the remarks days after saying that the closure of Subic port should be “seriously considered” unless it cleans up its act.

This was after he learned of four instances of confiscations of alleged smuggled agricultural products in Subic last December, on top of the 7,000 metric tons of smuggled sugar intercepted at the free port in August 2022.


Salceda said the “brazenness” in attempting to smuggle agricultural products “wouldn’t happen if the smugglers aren’t confident they have conspirators in the ports.”

In a statement on Monday, Salceda said the remarks of SBMA Chair Rolen Paulino and the agency’s “self-admitted nonchalance over smuggling” were “unacceptable.”

“The fact that the SBMA believes that it can be ‘nonchalant’ in the face of legitimate concerns about smuggling through our ports shows the kind of institutional inertia that breeds corruption and kills local Philippine industries,” the lawmaker said.

He cited Paulino’s statement that the alleged rise in the number of smugglers was “not an issue nor a concern to the SBMA as it is closely working with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in apprehending “any and all” smuggling attempts at Subic port, especially agricultural products.


“We remain nonchalant because we know we can apprehend them yet always on our toes with the smuggling attempts using our port because the SBMA and the BOC will never allow such misdeed to happen,” the SBMA chair said. INQ

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TAGS: House probe

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