MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he would enforce a ban on the auction of smuggled goods.
The President's statement followed the destruction of smuggled luxury cars in the ports of Manila, Cebu and Davao last week.
“So I said from now on, there will be no auction on smuggled goods. It will be destroyed once the period of redeeming it [ends] and I will take note of those people who are there,” Duterte said in a speech during the oath-taking of his appointees in Malacañang.
Duterte, who is fiercely against corruption, said he is seeking the ban since personnel of the Bureau of Customs seem to be in cahoots with smugglers.
The President said smuggled goods would always end up in the hands of smugglers, who use fictitious consignee names.
“The import, the consignee is fictitious. Then the corrupt office there in the Customs, the auction section and after a while, while they are being parked inside the warehouses, if the time comes for government to make the accounting, they would conduct the auction and sell it to the people who really, in the first place, were responsible [for] importing them. This insanity has to stop,” he said.
In leading the destruction of smuggled luxury cars last week, the President had said he would prefer that scrap metal from the crushed cars be given to junk shops instead of the luxury vehicles being purchased by smugglers in auctions.
On Feb. 1, Duterte announced a new policy on destroying smuggled luxury vehicles instead of putting them up for auction.
He alleged that some importers allowed the vehicles to be seized so they could buy them later at cheaper prices instead of having to pay taxes when they are auctioned off.