MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is conducting an investigation to find out how four sports utility vehicles amounting to P12 million allegedly went missing at a port in Mindanao on Feb. 19 and surfaced four days later at the Manila North Harbor.
BOC sources said that four brand new units of Toyota Prado arrived at the Dadiangas sub-port from Dubai on Jan. 13.
The cargo was allegedly consigned to Ayumi Rose Marketing with business address at Room 13, Panganiban Building on Sta. Teresita street, Dela Paz in Biñan, Laguna.
While there was no misdeclaration of the shipment, the BOC noted violations of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines such as undervaluation and misclassification of the cars’ model that prompted the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service to issue an alert order for the four vehicles on Feb. 11.
But despite the alert order, the cargo managed to slip into the Manila North Harbor. The vehicles were reportedly loaded on M/V Ocean Blessing and arrived at North Harbor on Feb. 23.
Upon learning of the disappearance of the SUVs, Customs personnel proceeded to the North Harbor and seized the vehicles.
The SUVs are being kept at the Oceanic Container Lines at Pier 14.
“The vehicles would have been released at the Dadiangas port if the consignee had paid the correct taxes. But it seemed they were in a hurry that they might have hired personnel or even called up ‘padrinos’ to cut short the process for their release from the port,” the source said.
The BOC is still verifying if Customs personnel helped facilitate the release of the vehicles.