Gas station caught with ‘marked’ fuel
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has filed charges against the owner of a gasoline station in Castillejos, Zambales and several other accomplices for selling 14,000 liters of biodiesel fuel which were found to have been smuggled out of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ).
Charged before the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor of the Department of Justice in Manila for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines were Araceli Banaag, owner of BNW Gas Station located along the National Highway in Del Pilar, Castillejos, Zambales and her still unidentified accomplices.
Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said the case stemmed from the seizure proceedings involving tax-free fuel intended for freeport zones but which was brought out of the Subic Freeport without the payment of taxes and duties.
The smuggled fuel was later found to have been delivered to the BNW Gas Station prompting the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group’s Task Force Fuel to conduct an operation to determine if the fuel being sold there had been marked with a special marking substance used to distinguish whether a particular batch of fuel is duty- and tax- exempt or not.
Alvarez said the fuel in question was subjected to a fuel marking test by a laboratory analyst from SGS Philippines Inc. (SGS), an accredited service provider for the Department of Finance’s program on the mandatory marking of imported tax- and duty- exempt kerosene and diesel.
SGS is responsible for adding a substance called fuel marker PH03 on duty- and tax- exempt fuel which are intended for the exclusive use of suppliers doing business in freeport zones like the SBFZ.
The positive test result on the fuel bought from BNW Gas Station confirmed that the PH03 marker was present in the diesel sold by said gas station. It also proved that the fuel’s withdrawal from the SBFZ did not go through the legal process and did not pay the corresponding duties and taxes, thus, prompting the BOC Run-After-The-Smugglers team to file the appropriate charges.
As a rule, Alvarez explained, marked fuel could only be used by an entity given such incentive. Selling the same fuel to a third party is illegal.
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