P27-million worth of smuggled luxury vehicles destroyed in Cagayan

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday led the destruction of the confiscated smuggled luxury cars worth P27.2 -million in Port Irene, Cagayan Valley.

Among those destroyed include, 14 luxury vehicles which include eight Mercedes Benz, one Porsche, one Maserati, two BMWs, as well as an Opel and Renault sedans worth P27.2 million, which are part of 855 vehicles impounded in Port Irene.

The government lost billions yearly due to undervalued payment on smuggled vehicles. Smuggling activities has reached to a level when Bureau of Customs officials are accused of coddling smugglers.

In his message on March 14 at Port Irene, Duterte emphasized “The destruction of these contraband luxury vehicles signifies our strong resolve to restore good governance, preserve our nation’s dignity and safeguard our people’s welfare.”

Duterte stressed “We reaffirm our commitment to build a country free from the shackles of corruption. This condemnation of these smuggled vehicles demonstrates our firm stand to put an end to a longstanding societal disease that has eroded public trust and tainted the government’s sincerity to deliver equitable social services.”

A bulldozer runs over 14 smuggled luxury vehicles while President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and members of his cabinet witness the Condemnation and Public Destruction of Contraband Vehicles at Port Irene in Sta. Ana, Cagayan province on March 14, 2018. -Rey Banquet/Presidential Photo

The President reiterated that he will never tolerate smuggling and all forms of irregularities in the country’s ports, especially at the freeports as he stressed that illegal practices will be dealt with to ensure that every government agency is free from corruption.

Duterte also called on local officials and every Filipino to stand with his campaign against corruption and illegal drugs to make a better Philippines.

It was the second batch of luxury vehicles destroyed under the duterte administration.

During the ceremony, Duterte said the confiscation of luxury vehicles in Port Irene simply indicates that smuggling is still alive, and work needs to be done, campaifgn against smugglers must continue.

CEZA CEO and Administrator Raul Lambino said they will also destroy the remaining more than 800 illegally acquired vehicles at the port, including several luxury motorcycles.

In February, this year, the President witnessed the destruction of smuggled vehicles at the Port of Manila simultaneous with the destruction in the ports of Cebu and Davao.

He called everyone, “Together, let us fight for a better government and for a better Philippines that will last generations. This will be our most important legacy as public servants and as Filipinos,” he said.

President Duterte also recognized the contributions of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) to national development, noting that CEZA’s commitment to spur economic and social development has promoted efficiency and good governance not only inside the eco-zone but in the entire region.

The public destruction of the illegally imported cars is aimed at discouraging smugglers from shipping in expensive vehicles.

“If by 2020, we could have perfected the structure and we can move ahead, and if it is already fine-tuned, I still have about until 2022. But if it calls for an election of a President, I will step down immediately,” Duterte said.

“Yan ang ipangako ko sa inyo. Hindi ho ako magiging diktador. I’m tired and I want to retire,” he said.-Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph with PND

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