Customs chief wants 'blanket ban' on imported used cars

Posted at Feb 16 2013 01:14 PM | Updated as of Feb 17 2013 12:23 AM

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MANILA, Philippines -- The Bureau of Customs wants a blanket ban on the importation of used cars to stop not just the alleged smuggling operations at Port Irene in Cagayan but also in other freeport zones in the country.

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said the ban should cover not only the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority where used car traders allegedly defied a Supreme Court order and brought in over 200 used cars and vans last Monday.

The high court issued its ruling that upheld the ban just last month.

Customs has stopped issuing import clearances at Port Irene pending clarification from the Supreme Court.

"It would be better if the decision would mean all over the country... the importation would be prohibited because this makes enforcement easier for us. There won't be opportunities for loopholes in certain areas," Biazon told ANC.

The ban on imported used cars was contained in Executive Order 156 issued in 2002 by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Biazon said confusion on the extent of the ban stemmed from having another executive order issued three years later that defined the taxes on imported used vehicles.

"There was also another Executive Order 418. It complicated matters more because that later executive order imposed additional duties and taxes on importation of used vehicles. Some legal quarters interpreted it as one that would supersede Executive Order 156," he said.

"It really has taken a lot of legal twist and turns. We hope this latest decision of the Supreme Court will finally settle it," Biazon added.