THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized 29 container vans loaded with petroleum products, misdeclared as biofuel components in an attempt to defraud the government of more than P8 million worth in taxes.

Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez said the 20 footer container vans were "grossly under valued and the shipment was misclassified and the objective was for them to spared from paying the excise tax."

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He explained that only P1.6 million in taxes and duties was paid for the entire shipment but the correct amount to be paid should have been P8.8 million.

Aside from the questionable payment of taxes, the cargo, which is intended for the use of motor vehicles, was likewise grossly undervalued by 74.42 percent for declaring its value of only P10 million when in fact the value of the goods would reach P30 million.

For his part, BOC-Port of Manila (POM) district collector lawyer Rogel Gatchalian said the shipment arrived in the country last July 29, from Singapore and Taiwan.

He said the shipment was reportedly consigned to Green Mountain Trading and the ultimate consignee or importer is Toyota Tsusho Corporation that is the authorized supplier of Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation.

But Gatchalian said they were informed by Green Mountain Trading that they are not the importer of the questioned shipments.

The BOC meantime will question Customs Broker identified as Mel F. Banas, who filed the import entries covering the container vans, under the said firm.

With this, Alvarez instructed Gatchalian to issue a warrant of seizure and detention on the shipments.

He noted that if the importer failed to pay the proper taxes the products would be forfeited in favor of the government and would be put up for auction as additional revenue for the bureau. (FP/Sunnex)