THE Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Port of Cebu seized over P2.6 million worth of misdeclared brand new solar modules on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.
In a statement on its official Facebook page on Wednesday Sept. 8, the BOC-Port of Cebu said instead of declaring the shipment as 470 panels of brand new solar modules from China, it was declared as used solar modules.
As this type of commodity can potentially pose risk to public health and the environment, the shipment was referred to the Port’s Environmental Protection and Compliance Division-Enforcement and Security Service (EPCD-ESS).
Verification with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), however, revealed that no Pre-Shipment Importation Clearance was issued for this importation.
The BOC said the importer’s representative explained that there was no need for clearance from the DENR since they are brand new solar modules.
Noting the representative’s conflicting statement with the importation documents and goods declaration, the EPCD-ESS requested for issuance of Alert Order against the shipment.
Acting District Collector Charlito Martin Mendoza then issued the Alert Order and the shipment was immediately subjected to a complete physical examination conducted by the assigned Customs Examiner and representatives from the ESS, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, X-Ray Inspection Project Team, Philippine Coast Guard, and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
The examination confirmed that the shipment contained brand new solar modules contrary to the goods declaration.
Aside from misdeclaration, the BOC-Port of Cebu said the shipment was "grossly" undervalued by 155 percent that resulted in a discrepancy in taxes amounting to P190,282.27.
Mendoza issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the shipment after finding probable cause for violation of Section 1113 (F), (I), and (L-3, 4, & 5) in relation to Section 1400 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.
The recent seizure is part of the efforts of the Bureau to curb technical smuggling committed by importers to illegally evade payment of the correct amount of customs duties and taxes due on their importations./ WBS