Manila Times reported that Philippines Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission has launched an investigation into the allegations of corruption against several big steel manufacturers and officials of the Bureau of Customs involving the smuggling of steel that has deprived the government of billions of pesos in tax revenues. PACC Chairman Dante Jimenez said his office has brought the matter to the attention of Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez as they are the agency that facilitates the trading of steel. He said “Aside from the smuggling allegations, there are also questions regarding the quality of steel. How this affects safety and the lives of people. These are all the subject of an ongoing investigation by the PACC.”
The President has reportedly been informed of the tax evasion case being prepared by the PACC and the Department of Trade and Industry against the BoC and leading steel makers in the country.
Big steel importers, allegedly in collusion with BoC officials, are suspected to have manipulated the Harmonized System codes, the universal codes for export and import goods. The steelmakers have been describing the imports of cast and prime steel billets used for steel manufacturing as Grade 60 when in fact, the orders under the same code are a mix of Grade 40 (5sp) and Grade 33 (3sp). This allowed them to allegedly mis declare the imported billets at a lower value. According to industry