DOF: Cost of smuggling immeasurable
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III called on the Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Coast Guard to intensify their joint anti-smuggling campaign to minimize losses from illicit trade and raise more revenues to build modern infrastructure.
“Today, we are investing heavily to modernize our infrastructure … We are building up our human capital through improved access to education and more investments in research and training so that we can remain competitive in this era of disruptive technological change,” Dominguez reminded the agencies on Monday during the commissioning of two fast patrol vessels acquired through a loan from the French government.
These two vessels will be used by the BOC and the PCG in their joint operations against smuggling.
Dominguez said the Philippines has twice the coastline of the US, thus vulnerable to smuggling. “There is no way to accurately estimate the cumulative amount of revenues denied government coffers. But we are sure that the amount is immense, far more than whatever we might be investing today in improving our enforcement capabilities.”
He said the lost revenues could have easily translated to more infrastructure and social services.
For Dominguez, illegal drugs were “the most perilous” goods smuggled into the country.
“Those who bring drugs to our coasts are prepared to fight for their evil cargoes. I trust our trained crews are prepared for the inevitable conflict that could break out when the vilest of these rascals are confronted at sea,” Dominguez said.
He asked the two agencies to use the new vessels well.
“We did not invest in these new vessels for them to be used sparingly. The war against smuggling should be unrelenting. I am confident the men and women of the BOC and PCG will carry out their missions bravely. With these fast patrol crafts, we cannot be outrun,” he said. —BEN O. DE VERA
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