2 firms face raps for smuggling steel from China

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 14 2014 02:35 PM | Updated as of Apr 14 2014 11:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Two firms were charged before the Department of Justice for the smuggling of steel products from China with a total cost of P30.7 million at the Port of Manila.

Thunder Birds Trading and its owner, Shine Rapadas Montes, were slapped with two complaints involving two separate shipments: (1) importation of eight 20-foot container vans of steel angle bars misdeclared as "steel angle frames; and (2) importation of twelve 20-foot containers declared as "steel sheets, clamps, flexible tubing and hinges," but turned out to be cold rolled steel sheets.

The weight of the shipment, which arrived in the 3rd week of October, was also misdeclared, according to Customs Commissioner John Sevilla.

A separate case was filed against Skylink Import-Export, Inc, and its officers: Junnhel Atun, president; Donna Donita Mercado, corporate secretary; Jumean Rose Atun, treasurer; and directors Limuelle Montesa and Rogelio Ocampo. The firm's customs broker, Jarie Mae Juquiano, was also charged.

Skylink brought in eight 20-foot container vans in the first week of January declared as "hardware items," but turned out to be steel angle bars.

Sevilla said both firms also evaded the payment of Safeguard Duty for imported steel products.

"Kaya malaki ang risk sa safety ng bibili ng mga produktong ‘yon... at nakakaapekto sa buhay ng mga Pilipinong nagtatrabaho sa steel industry," Sevilla said.