By Rea Cu, August 6 2018; Business Mirror


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THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) has created a task force to oversee the preparation of the fuel marking system or the implementation of the anti-oil smuggling scheme, a key plank of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

Pursuant to Customs Special Order (CSO) 49-2018, the Fuel Marking Task Force, chaired by the bureau’s Enforcement Group and cochaired by its Intelligence Group, shall formulate and prepare relevant administrative issuances subject to the approval of the customs commissioner or the secretary of finance.

It is also tasked to supervise the overall implementation of the fuel marking program to ensure that the tasks are accomplished; determine the personnel complement and other administrative and logistical requirements; coordinate with the Department of Finance (DOF) fuel marking technical working group (TWG), procurement service division of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and other concerned agencies; and prepare reports for the customs commissioner.

“The fuel marking is required on all petroleum products that are refined, manufactured, or imported into the Philippines that are subject to the payment of duties and taxes, such as but not limited to gasoline, denatured alcohol used for motive power, kerosene, and diesel fuel oil after the taxes and duties have been paid,” Commissioner Isidro S. Lapeña said.

In June this year, the procurement service division of the DBM has short listed two bidders for the fuel marking project, namely: SICPA SA and SGS Philippines Inc. joint venture; and, Authentix Inc. However, only the JV of SICPA SA and SGS Philippines Inc. submitted a proposal during the submission and opening of bids held on July 27.

The fuel marking system, which aims to curb the illicit trade of petroleum products, was expected to be mandatory for five years.

The anti-oil smuggling scheme is seen to boost the collection of the BOC and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) by P20 billion to P40 billion, according to the BOC.

“We will implement the law to plug leakages caused by fuel fraud. A robust fuel marking program will help return the stolen revenue to the government,” he added.

In 2016 the revenue loss from excise taxes and value-added tax (VAT) due from smuggled or misdeclared fuel oil was estimated at P26.87 billion, according to the DOF.

In May 2018  The Fight Illicit Trade movement has created the Anti-Crime Council of the Philippines in a bid to fight all forms of criminality, especially the smuggling of various goods in the country.

Smuggling of fuel is a priority concern, the anti-crime group said, as the government loses P40 billion annually in terms of excise-tax collections that should have been collected from smuggled fuel products.

Data from the BOC showed the government loses around P200 billion annually from smuggling alone.