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Smuggling raps filed vs 2 Binondo firms

Alberto-Lina

Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) yesterday filed smuggling charges against two Binondo, Manila-based trading companies over the alleged illegal importation of nearly P5­million worth of mobile phones, tablets and motor vehicles.

In separate cases filed in the Department of Justice for alleged violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina identified the firms as Uranus and Hanabana Trading Co. Ltd.

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Named respondents were Ritchie Montalban, Uranus proprietor, and Hanabana executives Neil Bryan Oraiz and Hanna Orquillas, as well as customs broker Kyle Paulo Villaruz.

On Sept. 7, 2015, according to the BOC, a shipping container from Hong Kong consigned to Uranus arrived at the Manila International Container Port.

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Cell phones, tablets

“The goods, declared as thermos and gift boxes, turned out to be assorted brands of mobile phones and tablets worth more than P4.2 million,” the bureau said.

Hanabana, on the other hand, was the consignee of a container that arrived on Dec. 1, 2013, at the Port of Davao from Japan. When inspected, the shipment turned out to be used motor vehicles worth over P500,000 instead of the declared used truck parts.

Meanwhile, in a report, the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) said that from 2002 to 2011 the government lost more than P1.33 trillion in revenue due to smuggling at the ports.

Lost revenue

In a 20­page study, the business group said lost revenue from 2002 to 2008 came up to nearly P890 billion, with further losses of P119.65 billion in 2009 and P326.75 billion in 2010 and 2011.

FPI arrived at the figures by looking for “disparities in import data” from the BOC and the International Monetary Fund.

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The “huge discrepancies,” it said, were most likely due to smuggling.

FPI chair Jesus Arranza said smugglers employed the “same old modus operandi”— undervaluing, misdeclaring and diverting shipments. He called this “technical smuggling.”

Lost revenue from “outright smuggling,” or landings that take place in isolated parts of the country and do not have import documents, were not covered in the FPI report.

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TAGS: Alberto Lina, Binondo, Hanabana Trading Co. Ltd., Smuggling, Uranus
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