Importers back probe of cement smuggling
Saying it does not condone smuggling, the Philippine Cement Importers Association (PCIA) on Tuesday said it was willing to work with cement manufacturers-importers and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to curb alleged cement smuggling.
“If there is truth to the claims of Cemap (Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines) president Ernie Ordoñez, the PCIA shall join hands with them in filing the necessary criminal and administrative cases against the alleged smugglers,” said PCIA executive director Dani Enriquez in a statement.
Enriquez said he would request Ordoñez to provide him the documents he submitted to the Bureau of Customs so that he could help assess the violations committed by the importers.
Outgoing Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon earlier accused the son of Sen. Panfilo Lacson of cement smuggling.
Faeldon said the senator’s son and namesake, Panfilo Lacson Jr., was the managing director of Bonjourno Trading, a company that the customs commissioner said was cited as the “No. 1 smuggler of cement in the country” by Cemap.
“I believe the solution to any cement smuggling, if there is any, is to work together to prevent these illegal activities which rob the government of the needed revenues and eventually destroy the legitimate industry players. And I agree with the belief that if an importer can cheat on taxes, he can also cheat in quality or standards,” he added.
Enriquez urged DTI to strengthen its monitoring and enforcement of compliance with their policies and national laws to ensure consumer welfare and protection.
But Enriquez said the PCIA wants to see the documents first before jumping to conclusions.
“The importers have reputations to protect in the cement industry and it is not fair to make unsubstantiated accusations. I don’t think an importer will smuggle a zero-tariff and zero-duty product,” Enriquez said.
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