BOC moves to curb oil smuggling
To combat oil smuggling, the Bureau of Customs plans to roll out by the first quarter of next year the planned marking of all fuel products.
“The fuel sector was recommending to put up a fuel marking system. I still have to sit down and discuss this with them. But when we have fuel marking, we can check which fuel is smuggled. If we do this, no smuggling can be done,” Customs Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon told the Senate ways and means committee in a hearing Tuesday.
Asked by committee chair Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara if he was amenable to the proposal, Faeldon replied: “Yes, I see this as another measure to stop smuggling of fuel and protect legitimate traders.”
The customs chief said fuel marking would cost only 6-8 centavos per liter, to be shouldered by private firms.
Faeldon later told reporters that the BOC would likely implement the fuel marking initiative early next year as the agency wanted to determine the actual volume of oil coming in and how much was being smuggled.
He said the BOC was planning to put markings on all oil products, whether imported or locally refined petroleum.
Three firms interested
Former customs chief Alberto D. Lina said early this year the BOC was supposed to meet with up to three firms interested in providing the technology for the planned revival of fuel marking on oil products.
Lina had wanted to bid out fuel marking services, but Faeldon said “it was never implemented because of the lobbying.”
Lina had said a private sector proposal to revive the fuel marking program showed that its cost to the government would only be about $25 million, while the additional revenue to be generated could hit as much as $300 million, as oil consumption continues to increase amid a growing economy.
The fuel marking program was first implemented by former Customs Commissioner Napoleon L. Morales, until it was eventually discontinued.
SGS Philippines Inc. was then the accredited service provider for the mandatory marking of imported duty- and tax-exempt diesel oil and kerosene.
SGS had added a substance, dubbed fuel marker PH03, on oil products to be used within free port zones.
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