Smuggling an “Ongoing Scandal” — Sen. Bam

Senator Bam Aquino calls smuggling “an ongoing scandal” and calls on the government to crack down on smuggling to protect local businesses and the interest of workers.

The senator warned that many businesses will close shop and thousands of workers will lose their livelihood if the government fails to curb smuggling.

“The government should launch a serious and aggressive drive against smuggling because it is a big threat to legitimate businesses in the country,” said Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship.

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

“If the people were indignant over the PDAF scam because at least 10 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,” Aquino said.

The senator emphasized that many businessmen, majority of them from the agriculture sector, have been weighed down by losses due to smuggling. This is also a deterrent for many investors who would otherwise be interested to invest in the Philippines.

“The never-ending issue on smuggling sends a negative signal to potential investors.  Mahirap magpasok ng mga bagong negosyo at trabaho sa bansa kung tingin ng mga investor ay mahina tayo laban sa smuggling,” Aquino said.

In line with this, Aquino 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. The senator likewise extended his cooperation and support to other government agencies working to curb smuggling in the Philippines.

“There is no ‘magic bullet’ to solve smuggling but if there is a tighter convergence of efforts, especially for our law enforcement agencies, we can end this menace to protect and strengthen our local industries and livelihood,” Sen. Aquino asserted.

Also, Aquino also batted for the modernization of the Bureau of Customs, which could also help curb smuggling.

“It’s about time that we modernize our systems to streamline the process that will eventually eradicate corruption and smuggling,” Aquino emphasised.

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