THE Intelligence Group of the Bureau of Customs (IG-BoC) yesterday presented to the media the result of its anti-smuggling operation in Manila that resulted to the confiscation of counterfeit goods worth over P500 million.
IG deputy commissioner, retired Army general, Raniel Ramiro, said the operation was launched last July 16 based on a “LOA” (letter of authority) issued by Comm. Rey ‘Jagger’ Guerrero, against several establishments at the fifth floor of the ‘999 Shopping Mall’ in Binondo believed to be selling fake varieties of popular consumer brands.
Ramiro added that his men at the Customs Intelligence and Investigation and Service (CIIS) under Dir. Jeoffrey Tacio with the help of other law enforcement units, seized counterfeit versions of ‘Gucci,’ ‘Louis Viton,’ ‘Tribal,’ ‘Hanes,’ Levi’s,’ ‘Converse,’ ‘Nike,’ ‘Adidas,’ ‘Fila’ and other popular brands.
The official added the operation also stemmed from a complaint filed by a law firm representing the affected companies that the raided units, numbering about 20, are storing imported counterfeit products.
Meanwhile, Comm. Guerrero also announced that the government’s ‘fuel marking’ program that seeks to address the problem of oil products smuggling, is now in effect.
Guerrero said with the approval and publication of the joint circular (JC) between the BoC, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Department of Finance (DoF), combatting the smuggling of oil products would be further strengthened.
The Joint Circular (JC) is based on Section 148-A of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), as amended by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, which requires the use of an official fuel marker in refined, manufactured or imported gasoline, diesel and kerosene in the Philippines.
Provisions of the NIRC such as Sections 12, 15, 155, 171, 172, 157 and 265-A provide BoC and the BIR the authority to collect, monitor and apprehend parties violating the law in relation to fuel marking.
The IRR is further supported by the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) under Sections 214, 219 and 222 that gives BoC officers the authority to conduct searches, seizures and arrests as well as exercise police powers over dutiable goods.
The JC also sets the corresponding responsibilities of the implementing agencies in relation to fuel marking and field testing.
Petroleum products found not to contain the official marker or those with markers but below the required level shall be presumed to have been withdrawn or imported with the intention to evade the payment of duties and taxes.
These petroleum products may be subject to confiscation and forfeiture as well as filing of the appropriate criminal charges to those involved.