MANILA, Philippines - A trading firm has been slapped with smuggling charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly smuggling steel angle bars into the country.
Charged by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday is Manila-based Thunder Birds Trading and its owner, Shine Rapadas Montes, as well as the firm's customs broker, Jolly Lareza.
Customs Commissioner John Sevilla said the firm misdeclared its importation of steel angle bars from China, which came in batches, from January 2 to 5, 2014, contained in twenty-five 20-foot containers.
The shipment was declared as "steel bar, clamp, flexible tubing and hinges," however, upon inspection, Customs examiners found that the actual shipment was composed of steel angle bars.
Thunder Birds allegedly misdeclared their import entries to further evade payment of additional safeguard duty for imported steel angle bars at P3,706 per metric ton, or a total of P1.55 million. The quantity of steel bars was also misdeclared by 140%, with Thunder Birds declaring that the shipment only totalled 175 metric tons, when the actual shipment was 420 metric tons.
Sevilla also pointed out that Thunder Birds has not applied for product certification with the Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Product Standards (DTI-BPS), nor is the firm a registered Philippine Standards License holder for any steel product, which is a mandatory requirement to prevent the proliferation of sub-standard steel products in the market.
The Customs chief bared that smuggled steel products pose a threat to the safety of consumers since the Philippine Iron and Steel Institute (PISI) and its member-industry associations had warned that these smuggled products do not comply with Philippine safety standards.