2 traders face raps for smuggling steel

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 29 2014 03:38 PM | Updated as of Aug 29 2014 11:38 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Two business owners and their customs brokers are facing smuggling charges for allegedly illegally importing steel products into the country.

Charged for violating the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines for unlawful importation and the fraudulent filing of import documents were Tessie Ligon, owner and proprietress of Archer Blaze Marketing, and Aloha Pamintuan, the firm's customs broker.

Investigation showed that Archer Blaze allegedly submitted fake documents including fake Conditional Release Permits of the Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Product Standards (DTI-BPS) to facilitate the firm's importation of 47 20-foot containers of angle bars from China with a total value of P38.74 million.

The permits were accompanied with a fake letter supposedly from DTI-BPS addressed to Port of Manila Acting District Collector Mario Mendoza attesting to the authenticity of the Conditional Releases issued.

The shipments arrived through the Port of Manila in four batches last June 10 and 14, 2014.

Charged for the same offense were Renato Supan Miranda, owner and proprietor of Echo Titan Marketing Resources, and Echo Titan's customs broker, Junnil Andujar Rollon.

They are also facing charges for allegedly violating the Bureau of Product Standards Law for the attempt of a non-holder of an Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) to import steel products without proper certification, and the Revised Penal Code for falsification of documents.

Miranda and Rollon are also facing additional charges for alleged misdeclaration of the weight and value of their shipments in violation of Section 2503 of the Tariff and Customs Code.

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Echo Titan allegedly misdeclared the product they imported as “steel round bars” from China.

However, customs examiners discovered that the shipment contained various steel products of various sizes including stainless steel flat bars, stainless steel angle bars, and stainless steel round bars.

Import documents also revealed misdeclaration of the weight and value of the goods inside one 40-foot and one 20-foot container vans in order to evade payment of the correct duties and taxes.

Customs said the Dutiable Value declared by Echo Titan for two containers stood at P1.235 million with total Duties and Taxes of P248,122.92. However, actual Dutiable Value should be P5.577 million with total Duties and Taxes of P1.113 million.

"The country imports a significant amount of steel products and there strong demand for these. But we cannot be lax and allow uncertified steel products to enter the local market. Part of our mandate is to protect our people from cheap but unsafe products that could pose a risk to life and limb," said Customs Commissioner John Sevilla.

The two firms were charged following alert orders issued by the BOC’s Intelligence Group.