Friday, August 17, 2007
Philippine Car Smuggling Business
I don't know about about you guys, but seeing on TV 30 million pesos worth of luxury cars being smashed just made my heart sank and made me shake my head in disbelief. In a country like ours where there is a chronic lack of classrooms, hospitals and better facilities for our domestics airports, one would think auctioning off the cars and putting the money to better use would be a much much better alternative than smashing the cars up on live television which in my opinion achieves nothing but irritates the Filipino people. Even the backhoe operators who are tasked to destroy the cars, when interviewed are hesitant to do it but "napag utusan lang". I can't see how this can deter smugglers who are very much at home with our culture of corruption from bringing in cars from free ports where, with just one phone call to a high customs official would generally do the trick.
The government reasoned that they cannot auction off the smuggled vehicles because they are usually bought back by the smugglers, which has since been a business practice. Making the list of the buyers public can help deter known smugglers from joining the auction but makes the people who are bidding for a 10 million peso sports car a prime target for the BIR and kidnappers. This is a tricky situation that requires more study to come up with a system that can deter smugglers and well as protect the identities of legitimate bidders. But whatever system they come up, it is an infinitely better alternative that just smashing up the cars like that. 30 million pesos is not just pocket change. Imagine the number of schools and classrooms that can be built with that amount. I am not saying that rewarding smugglers is right, it is a crime and people who commit these crimes should be punished to the full extent of the law. But how can we hope to punish these crooks when the BIGGER crooks are the ones who should be enforcing the law.