By Mar S. Arguelles
LEGAZPI CITY --- The Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Bicol debunked report that cement smuggling took place in Bicol, a top BOC official said here yesterday.
Divina Garrido, BOC acting district collector, said the imported cement shipment of 4,250 metric tons consigned to Bonjourno Trading managed by Panfilo Lacson Jr., which arrived at the port of Masbate on October 10, 2016, was above board and were accompanied by the required customs documents.
Garrido in an interview said all the required documents were submitted except on the issue on how much freight charges should be imposed on the import cement commodity shipment.
The Bonjourno trading firm claims that they should only pay $8 per metric tons as compared to the BOC standard freight cost at $16/MT based on the Fixture Note (Contract) executed by and between the shipping company and the shipper.
Garrido said to resolve the issue, the agency requested Bonjourno to submit to the BOC the original copy of the official receipt of the freight charges and the original/certified true copy of the Fixture note.
Pending the submission of the required documents, the shipment was put on hold for 10 days from Oct. 10 the date when it was suspended to Oct 20 the day it was released upon the submission of the documents to the BOC, Garrido said.
Garrido said the Bobjourno Trading immediately settled the freight charges by paying $68,000 based on the S16/MT freight cost while they also settled the other freight cost incurred during the 4 previous shipments.
The payment of the freight charges by the cement trading firm was done despite the request for a reconsideration asking the BOC to consider lowering the charges, she said
Data gathered from the BOC Assessment Division, indicated that the Bonjourno Trading had made at least five import cement shipment in Bicol from 2015 to 2016 of which 4 shipments were docked in Masbate port and only one in Legazpi port.
The imported cement shipment consigned to the Bonjourno Trading from Vietnam were: 4,400MT worth $259,600 or P12.07million which arrived at the Masbate Port on Oct. 14, 2015; 6,604MT valued at $389,676 or P18.3 M, Tabaco Port; 4,406MT valued at $259,954 or P12.1M Masbate Port; 4,250MT valued at $250,756 or P12M, Masbate Port; 4,196MT valued at $247,564 or P12.3M at Masbate Port
The data showed that the 5 imported cement shipments all originated from Vietnam consisted of of 23,856 metric tons of cement amounting to $1,407,544 million or P67,055, 946.00 (P67.05M)..
The alleged cement smuggling in Bicol being referred to by resigned BOC commissioner Nicanor Faeldon was reportedly about the 4,250 MT of imported cement from Vietnam consigned to Bonjourno Trading managed by Pampi Lacson Jr., the son and namesake of Sen. Panfilo Lacson. Faeldon claimed that such the shipment consigned to younger Lacson’s trading company was smuggled.