Press Release
February 14, 2008


"Run after smugglers," Senator Richard Gordon urged Finance Secretary Margarito Teves during the hearing of the Commission on Appointments (CA) Wednesday.

Gordon, a member of the CA, revealed that the national government can generate up to P26 billion additional income if the Finance Department can rectify the raging smuggling in the country.

"Doon lang sa cigarette smuggling P9 bilyon na ang makukuha ng gobyerno kung hahabulin lang natin ang mga 'yan. P4 bilyon sa alak at sa car smuggling ang estimate na makukuha natin is about P13 bilyon. Wala pa dyan yung sa smuggling ng langis," he said.

Gordon believed that Teves can show his skills in cleaning up the Finance Department and go after the smugglers. Consideration of his appointment was yet again suspended by the CA when he failed to shed light on some concerns particularly on smuggling issues raised by members of the powerful commission,

"We gave him a certain amount of time to show his good faith and to show his skill to be able to clean up the Department of Finance (DOF). I think this is a good opportunity for him to show that he can make decisions Kailangang maipakita niya na mahuhuli niya ang mga involved in smuggling. I certainly believe that Teves will be able to do his job very well and he deserves to be given another chance so that when he comes back, he can show us what he has done with respect to all of these concerns," said Gordon.

Gordon also emphasized that smuggling is indeed rampant as evidenced by volumes of documents he presented during the CA hearing.

"The country should not lose its sense of urgency in stopping rampant smuggling that is now crippling our industries. The record is there, just go run after them. If you catch them then people will say it's good to pay taxes because they are catching the crooks. When you have the evidence right in front of you, when you can trace them, wouldn't it be preventive if we go after these people because it will deter all other individuals from attempting to do the same?" He insisted.

On his part, Teves assured the Senator that they are setting up appropriate procedures to address the problem of smuggling. He said that the underperforming and erring officials will not go unscathed to ensure that smuggling in the country can immediately be dealt with and eradicated completely.

Gordon chided officials of the Bureau of Customs for not doing enough to stop smuggling in the country, as he lamented the Bureau's lack of an order of battle against top smugglers in the country, including those who sneak in second-hand vehicles through Clark and Subic.

"The real problem is not smuggling but the invulnerable power of very high officials to protect smuggling rings on a regular basis." he said.

Gordon, the founding chair of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) added that smuggling had gotten worse at Subic after he left. In the last two years, a total of 100,000 smuggled vehicles were shipped into Subic Bay Freeport.

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