Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Used-car smuggling back?

Local car manufacturers, their parts suppliers and their dealers are furious. Smuggling of used cars is about to resume, if it has not resumed at this writing, following discovery of an internal palace memo signed by the chief presidential legal counsel, Merceditas Gutierrez, to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo saying in effect it is now OK to resume importation of used vehicles.


Unfortunately for the smugglers, Sen. Richard Gordon leaked the internal palace legal opinion to the car industry. Learning about it, the industry called a press conference last week. Its leaders came out in full force—Elizabeth Lee, president of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc.; George Blaylock, president of the Philippine Automotive Association; and Egmidio Jose, president of the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines Inc.


They showed newsmen the September 8 Gutierrez memo. The President’s lawyer told her that “the Department of Finance, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Bureau of Customs, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, and the Land Transportation Office have been directed by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to comply with the Regional Trial Court decision as affirmed by the Court of Appeals, allowing the importation and entry of used-motor vehicles within the Subic Special Economic Zone, subject only to the payment of the required customs duties, until final disposition of the matter by the Supreme Court.”


Senator Gordon says the memo means the executive order banning used-car imports will be rescinded.


Republic Act 8506 bans the importation of right-hand drive vehicles in the country. But an obscure Olongapo City judge managed to contravene the law and declared it unconstitutional. He was upheld by the Court of Appeals. The government has gone to the Supreme Court for a final ruling.


The issue need not have gone to the Supreme Court. If President Arroyo had exercised political will. The suspicion, however, remains that a congressman who voted against the impeachment bid against her got a franchise to smuggle used vehicles as a reward.


Smuggling is a lucrative business. A vehicle is brought in for only P50,000 and is sold for P300,000.


Some of the vehicles look even brand new. There’s just one catch—most of the units are right-hand drive, illegal in the Philippines. To remedy that, the vehicles are “converted.” Since they were not designed for left-hand drive driving, the cars are virtually rolling coffins, unsafe to drive at any speed. But then, you get what you pay for.


While the case was spending in the courts, the smugglers—90 percent of them—quietly moved out of Subic and set up shop at the Cagayan Export Processing Zone, away from the prying eyes of the Manila media and the automotive industry.

Yahoo! for Good
Click here to donate to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.


Post a Comment

<< Home


This is a joint private blog of volunteers from Subic Bay. It is being maintained primarily to collate articles that may be of importance to decision making related to the future of Subic Bay and as a source of reference material to construct the history of Subic Bay.

The articles herein posted remains the sole property of original authors and publications which has full credits to the articles.

Disclaimer: Readers should conduct their own research and due diligence before using any article herein posted for whatever intended purpose it may be. This private web log will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained from volunteers of this private blog.

www.subicbay.ph, http://olongapo-subic.com, http://sangunian.com, http://olongapo-ph.com, http://oictv.com, http://brgy-ph.com, http://subicbay-news.com, http://batanggapo.com 16 January 2012