Smuggling defraud gov't of huge tariffs
Gone are the days when smuggling activities were at their worst in the Philippines. At least, the creation of the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB), a forerunner of the Anti-smuggling Action Center (ASAC) during the time of President Magsaysay, has stemmed the tide of smuggling activities during that time. Revival of this kind of law enforcement organization is needed in the wake of reports that the national government has been defrauded of tremendous amount of taxes, in cahoots with some Bureau of Customs officials.
Without a counter check of the goods that are coming out of the entry ports, the publics are guessing as to whether the same goods are properly taxed or not, once they are shipped out and delivered to their consignees. What is happening right now is that only the customs bureau is tasked of both responsibilities. In the past, EIIB operatives are always on stake out for containers coming of the south harbor, after reliable tips are given to them. And in some instances, the tips turned out to be true, with the containers ending up to Camp Aguinaldo where the bureau's office used to be located. As a reporter covering the defense beats at that time, I could see many confiscated container vans lined up inside its premises.
However, it wasn't long before the Department of Finance had to act on the overlapping of functions that the two bureaus are making. Perhaps, there was a lobby group that made true its promise to quash the existence of the EIIB so that the customs bureau could make what it felt at that time was theirs to keep. Pity to those who were out of jobs after the EIIB was debunked. But not without a fight. I was covering the Department of Finance in the same complex where the Central Bank is located, when former EIIB employees had camped out in the street fronting the DOF building to protest the EIIB's dissolution to no avail. Sources said some of them were absorbed by the DOF, while others had opted to take advantage of the government's early retirement program which some of them availed of.
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