Aquino gov’t to blame for continued oil smuggling—Mitos Magsaysay
MANILA, Philippines—Three years into its term, the Aquino administration can no longer blame the oil smuggling problem on any other leadership, and it must now finally ask its economic managers to account for their failure to resolve it, according to senatorial candidate Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay.
Magsaysay said the problem has persisted for a long time and heads should roll.
“After three years on the job, they can’t say this is the fault of another administration. This is the fault of the DOF (Department of Finance), of Secretary [Cesar] Purisima and his agencies, which are the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue,” Magsaysay told reporters.
“They haven’t done anything. The losses amounted to P40 billion to P50 billion. This means somebody has been sleeping on the job to benefit from oil smuggling or because somebody in the administration is earning from it,” she said.
According to her, the government should have been filing a lot of cases against the oil smugglers if it had really identified them.
She added that she had long suggested that the Department of Energy work more closely with the Bureau of Customs to check if the amount of oil coming into the country tallied with what was passing through the customs bureau.
The administration should also faithfully implement the attrition law, which imposes penalties on tax customs collectors who fail to meet their targets.
Magsaysay said the administration should focus on going after the bigwigs behind the oil smuggling operations rather than imposing more taxes on struggling people in order to fill the government coffers.
“Don’t you think the government should look into that more instead of trying to tax government employees?” she said.
The problem of oil smuggling recently came under the spotlight when Petron chairman Ramon Ang claimed that a third of the total volume of oil products sold in the market was smuggled.
This causes the government to lose P30 billion to P40 billion yearly in forgone revenues.
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