Press Release
October 6, 2017

Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon

Drilon: I will block the budget of the Bureau of Customs unless that matter or pre-shipment can be put to full use, pre-inspection from shipment from port of origin. Obviously, the 604 kilograms of shabu that was brought into our country sometime in April or May, if that executive order was in existence at that time the Chinese authorities could have caught it in the port of origin, because there would have been a pre-shipment inspection. There is an existing administrative order that requires a pre-shipment inspection but this only covers bulk cargo, non-containerized shipments and therefore, it did not cover containerized cargo, where the 604 kilograms of shabu was found. My position is, it is worth the expense that customs would renew this contract or enter into a contract with a pre-inspection company. This is a worldwide business. There are established companies who would offer pre-shipment inspection facilities. I understand that the draft of the amendments to the administrative order which would expand the coverage of the existing administrative order has been pending with the Office of the President for some time. We do not know how long but that is confirmed by the officials of the BoC at today's hearing. They just could not say when this was submitted but the fact is, it was pending in the Office of the President.

Q: Yung pre-shipment inspection is a recognized way of thwarting smuggling?

Drilon: It is a recognized way of thwarting smuggling. They said the WTO frowns upon this. Yes, I am aware that there are limitations, for example, you cannot substitute the judgment of a pre-inspection firm insofar as the assessment of customs duties is performed. That must be done by the recipient country, in this case, the Philippines. But certainly as a means of preventing contraband from getting into the country, they admit that this is not covered by any of the provision of the WTO.

Q: Kung may commitment lang ang sabihin nila na i-amend?

Drilon: I will place my position on record. I will oppose the approval of the budget of the BoC and whether or not that will be sustained by the majority, that is a decision that they will have to make.

Q: In another way, you're telling the BoC to press the President to sign that amended AO?

Drilon: That's correct.

Q: If that AO passes, there will have to be a budget for the fees?

Drilon: Yes, they have agreed that it is worth the expense and the chair of the committee on finance agreed that we should be able to come up with a budget?

Q: Did they say that whether this amendment actually came from the BoC also or the DoF?

Drilon: I understand it came from the Office of the Solicitor General.

Q: What other areas you intend to block because there is this issue about the intelligence fund?

Drilon: We will look at it later and take a position on that matter.

Q: Pwede bang special on the tokhang funds?

Drilon: In our interpellation yesterday, we were able to show that this tokhang fund, a portion considered as intelligence fund - I think about P163 million out of P900 million - which means that the remaining P700 million plus are considered as regular appropriation subject to audit and therefore, we will ask for the details since it is not considered as intelligence fund.

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