ANGELES CITY – The Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKM) has sounded the alarm on the alleged rampant smuggling at the nearby Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ).
PGKM Chair Ruperto Cruz urged authorities to be more vigilant especially with the Christmas season already at hand.
Earlier, Cruz called for the closing down of all duty-free stores (DFS) outside the passenger terminal of the Clark International Airport (CIA) to minimize or totally stop smuggling.
Cruz said the smuggling of liquor and cigarettes and other high value items including gasoline and even cars “could be happening at the CFZ as we speak.”
During an interview here over the weekend, Cruz said some companies based at the CFZ that enjoy duty-free importation and other tax privileges could also be offering their products and services to the local market too which can be considered technical smuggling and smacks of unfair competition.
Cruz asked, will Honda Cars Philippines, which is now a CFZ locator, enjoy tax and duty- free importation and privileges?
Honda recently broke ground with its showroom and service center at the CFZ on its leased area located at the main entrance of the freeport.
“Is Honda Cars Philippines a manufacturer like Yokohama Tire Philippines, Inc.? If Honda will acquire duty-free importation of car spare parts, will these items be confined to Clark or will Honda be allowed to sell them to the local market?”
Cruz said if Honda will not be manufacturing cars and its spare parts, then why is it in Clark?
“The mere fact that it is located at the entrance means it is only a marketing office,” Cruz surmised.
Other car dealers in the Philippines will be put at a disadvantage because of the tax exemptions that will be given to Honda, Cruz pointed out.
“This is undue advantage,” Cruz said. “There should be a level playing field,” he added.
This, even as he cited the boost in the local car industry with the “closure” of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone to used-car importation.
On a similar note, if Clark duty-free stores will be closed down, will Capilion Corp. Pte. Ltd. still be interested to locate in Clark? asked Cruz.
Cruz was also reminded of the tax-free cars, mostly sports utility vehicles, imported by locators, notably Mimosa, at the beginning of the then-Clark Special Economic Zone.
“What happened to those vehicles that used to roam around Clark sporting blue plates? Does CDC still keep a record of these?” asked Cruz.
Cruz said smuggling destroy people’s livelihood as gleaned from our experience with the Marikina shoe industry which radically tumbled down due to the smuggling of shoes from China and Vietnam.
Closer to home, Cruz lamented the “demise” of the furniture and handicrafts manufacturing which were considered “Pampanga legacy industries.”
It used to be when wood carvers can be found almost everywhere and even wood sanders which take up sub-contracts from big furniture manufacturers. But sadly those days are gone due to the unabated smuggling, said Cruz who also owned one of the biggest wood furniture manufacturing- exporting companies in Central Luzon.
Smuggling, Cruz said, is one of the reasons that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) failed to achieve its target collection.
Published reports indicate that for 2015, the BIR should collect P1.674 trillion in taxes, 25.4-percent more than the P1.335-trillion actual collection last year. But the BIR failed to reach its target 2014 collection of P1.456 trillion.
The latest DOF data showed the amount collected by the country’s biggest tax-collection agency last July slid by one percent year-onyear to P118.2 billion as well as fell short of the P146.3-billion goal by almost a fifth.
Source: Nov 7 Punto