'Smuggling bigger than Napoles scam'


Posted at Jan 16 2014 09:42 AM | Updated as of Jan 16 2014 05:42 PM

MANILA - The Philippines needs to crack down on the problem of smuggling, which is reportedly costing the government P133 billion in lost revenue every year bigger than the P10 billion pork barrel scam linked to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

Sen. Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship, said the government should launch a serious and aggressive drive against smuggling because it is a big threat to legitimate businesses in the country. He said many businessmen have been weighed down by losses due to smuggling.

The Federation of Philippine Industries revealed the government lost P1.33 trillion or P133 billion a year in revenues from 2002 to 2011 due to smuggling in different ports all over the country.

“If the people were indignant over the PDAF scam because at least P10 billion was taken away from the people's money, the amounts we're losing to smuggling are over ten times that amount. Smuggling is an ongoing scandal that needs to be addressed urgently," he said in a statement.

Aquino has called on the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to work more closely together and intensify their campaign against the illegal entry of goods into the country.

He said the modernization of the Bureau of Customs could also help curb smuggling.