Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has approved the donation by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) of 6, 357.8 liters of unmarked diesel fuel seized last September and forfeited in favor of the government.
The BOC and PCG have already signed a memorandum of agreement on the turnover of the seized fuel to the Coast Guard for its anti-smuggling operations.
The Port of Clark ordered the confiscation of the diesel fuel, which was found at a retail gas station in Arayat, Pampanga after a composite team of the BOC and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) had conducted field tests and detected the absence of the fuel marker supposed to be injected into tax-paid oil products.
Upon the recommendation of Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko, the seized fuel is set to be donated by the BOC to the PCG.
The Customs district collector in the Clark port issued a decision on Sept. 22, 2021 forfeiting the confiscated fuel in favor of the government after conducting legal proceedings that was concluded when the management of the gas station—the Luzon Petromobil Integrated Service Stations, Inc (LPISSI)—filed an affidavit abandoning its claim on the seized products.
This decision became final on Oct. 11, 2021 as no other petition was filed by LPISSI after the lapse of the 15-day period for filing an appeal.
Under Section 7 of the DOF-BOC-BIR Joint Circular (JC) No. 001.2021, petroleum products that are unmarked, with diluted marker or have counterfeit fuel marker shall be subject to duties and taxes, inclusive of the appropriate fines and penalties.
This is without prejudice to the confiscation and forfeiture of such products and the filing of the appropriate criminal cases against those liable for violations of the law.
Sec. 1141 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) permits goods that are subject of forfeiture proceedings to be donated to another agency, upon the approval of the Secretary of Finance.
Republic Act (RA) No. 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law authorized the fuel marking program in a bid to curb smuggling after the law raised the excise tax rate on fuel products.
As of Dec. 9, the government has collected P330.29 billion in taxes from 33.54 billion liters of marked petroleum products under the fuel marking program since it was implemented in September 2019. (DOF)