MANILA - Cement manufacturers on Friday warned that the government's push for infrastructure spending will be at risk if the technical smuggling at the Bureau of Customs continued.
"What’s at stake is technical smuggling will include not only the valuation; it will include quality. That’s the worst thing. Those who cheat on freight, they often cheat on quality…This is the problem, we must tighten," Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines President Ernesto Ordoñez told ANC's Market Edge.
"'Build, build, build' is coming—never mind if you lose revenue, but if you lose on quality, you lose lives. It’s time we wake up here," he added.
The call came a day after outgoing Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon claimed that Lacson's son, Panfilo "Pampi" Jr.'s Bonjourno company brought in 67 shiploads of cement worth billions of pesos that were all undervalued by 50 percent. The Lacsons have denied Faeldon's claim.
While the group was relieved technical smuggling came to light after the word war between Senator Panfilo Lacson and Faeldon, Ordoñez said it was "too late."
"I think it smacks of lack of sincerity and lack of commitment," he said.
Ordoñez said they have been proposing coming up with an oversight body to monitor the bureau, but "nobody wants to do it" because if there is one, "they really straighten up because there will be an oversight body, high-level, that can make them behave."
"If President Duterte wants a change, then he must change this, he must let transparency come in," he said.