By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte once again enjoined the public to help the government achieve development in the country as he led the destruction of 14 smuggled luxury cars in Sta. Ana, Cagayan Wednesday evening.
Duterte, in this instance, decided to read his prepared speech than go impromptu, saying he has a meeting “with some guys from the Middle East” in Davao City.
According to the President, the confiscation of the said luxury cars implies that there is still a lot of work to be done until people can get the stronger and more progressive nation they deserve.
“I call upon every local government official, civic leader and the general public to stand with us in forging a drug-, crime-, and corruption-free Philippines,” Duterte said.
“Together, let us fight for a better government and for a better Philippines that will last generations. This will be our most important legacy as public servants and as Filipinos,” he added.
Duterte, together with Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) officials, led the condemnation and public destruction of of 14 used luxury vehicles from Japan and Korea worth P27 million at Port Irene.
Among the luxury vehicles destroyed were a Maserati Quattro Porte, a Porsche 911 GT3, a BMW Alpina B12, a BMW Z1, an Opel Manta, a Renault R5, and eight units of Mercedes Benz. It was reported that 841 vehicles more, which were also part of the illegal shipment, will also be destroyed once its documents are reviewed and finalized.
It was said that the vehicles, which remained unclaimed since 2014, violated former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Executive Order (EO) 156 that prohibits the importation of used vehicles in the country.
Duterte reiterated in his speech that his government will continue to persevere in bringing transformative change in order to build a foundation of the country’s unceasing sustainable growth.
“I reiterate that I will never tolerate smuggling and all forms of irregularities in our ports, especially in our Freeports. Illegal practices will be dealt with to ensure that every department, agency and instrumentality of government is free from corruption,” he said.
The President also said that the destruction of the contraband luxury vehicles signifies the government’s strong resolve to restore good governance, preserve the nation’s dignity and safeguard its people’s welfare.
“We reaffirm our commitment to build a country free from the shackles of corruption. This condemnation of these smuggled vehicles demonstrates our firm stand to put an end to a longstanding societal disease that has eroded public trust and tainted the government’s sincerity to deliver equitable social services,” Duterte said.
“To this end, we will continue to persevere in bringing transformative change so we can build a foundation of our nation’s unceasing sustainable growth,” he added.
This was the second public destruction of luxury cars witnessed by Duterte. Last month, the President expressed determination to destroy smuggled luxury cars and thumbed down proposals to bid them out in order to send a message to smugglers.
Last month, Duterte led the public condemnation of 20 smuggled luxury worth P61.6 million during the 116th founding anniversary of Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Port of Manila.
Duterte, in a speech last month, claimed that some importers allowed the vehicles to be seized so they could buy them later at cheaper prices instead of having to pay taxes when they are auctioned off.
“I’ve instructed [BOC Commissioner] Sid [Lapeña]. Don’t sell it because the situation will remain the same. They’ll still be the only ones who will benefit from it and they’ll be the only ones who’ll wait for the next auctions. It’s legal and it’s cheap because it’s auctioned,” Duterte had said.