Smuggling is a serious problem in many countries, including the Philippines. There are many things that are smuggled into the country, misdeclared to be something else so the importer will only pay a smaller tax than what is due to the government.
Now, there are different ways to deal with these smuggled goods. Food can be distributed to the poor or given to social services so they can put these in relief goods. The same can be done to other goods, such as slippers and clothes.
But some people recommend reselling these items for profit, with the money going to the coffers of the government; however, this is rather tricky because a lot of people do not trust the Bureau of Customs (BOC), an agency that is considered to be among the top corrupt offices in the country.
Many times in the past, there had been a call for the BOC to destroy confiscated goods.
Earlier this year, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the BOC to destroy the smuggled luxury cars. A number of people laughed at the idea, thinking this wouldn’t push through. After all, how much does one luxury car cost? The cheapest one would surely be at least Php2 million, maybe a lot more! Surely, the government will earn a lot of money in selling these smuggled cars instead of getting them destroyed, yes?
But the Duterte government was serious – on February 6, 2018, a total of 30 luxury cars amounting to at least Php61 million were destroyed simultaneously at the BOC headquarters in Manila as well as in Cebu and Davao City.
The activity was witnessed by Duterte and other high-ranking government officials. He earlier explained that he ordered the destruction of these cars to deter these smugglers from doing this over and over again.
In the past, the government simply auctions off the smuggled items for additional revenue for the government but the smugglers simply ‘buy’ back the items and become the legal owners of the otherwise illegal goods. Thus, Duterte decided to have the luxury cars destroyed.
While most took the president’s side, saying this was a good warning sign for the smugglers to stop their illegal activities, many also felt that it was too much. The price of one car could have fed thousands of families for weeks!
Others suggested that the government use the vehicles for other purposes, such as converting them into police cars or ambulances but many pointed out that such would be crazy because luxury cars are expensive to maintain and are known to be gas guzzlers; the government couldn’t afford to have one in its fleet.
Luxury cars that were destroyed include brands such as BMW, Jaguar, Mercedez Benz, and Lexus. Ouch.
So, what do you think about President Duterte’s move to have these luxury cars destroyed?