Oil smuggling may be back with vengeance

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The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is looking into the possible resurgence of oil smuggling following reports that smuggling of finished fuels has become rampant again in the third quarter of 2013 after a significant reduction in the first half of the year.

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BOC deputy commissioner Ariel Nepomuceno is keeping tabs oil smuggling, but clarified that their data has no “extraordinary event.”

“We were told to investigate. We are assuming that there is, but the data shows no extraordinary event. [However], our assumption is that there is something illegal going on,” Nepomuceno said.

He admitted that the BOC has a problem in gathering data after the contraband gets and added that what the agency can do is strengthen its efforts and monitor smuggling activities in the country.

In a report, Edgar Chua, country chairman and president of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. said that their company has experienced a sharp decline in sales because of the resurgence of oil smuggling activities.

Nepomuceno said that they will coordinate with the management of Shell executives in the investigation, the same coordination made with other stakeholders in agricultural products.

BOC chief John Sevilla ordered Customs officials to intensify their monitoring especially on oil smuggling, importation of rice and other agricultural products, and the importation of second hand high-end cars and illegal drugs.

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