MANILA -- The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has seized 18 brand new luxury cars amounting to over PHP107 million at the Manila International Container Port (MICP).

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena on Monday led the inspection of the luxury vehicles which arrived in the country on separate dates from October 13 to 19 from Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

He noted the shipments contained 12 Toyota Land Cruiser units, three Range Rover units, two Chevrolet Camaro units and one McLaren unit, all of current models.

The cars were seized for being undervalued and lacking in documentary requirements mandated by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

Based on the document provided by the BOC, the declared value of the shipment was at PHP32.8 million which is 49 percent lower than the total market value at PHP107.9 million.

He added that the luxury cars were also seized after the consignee, Gamma Gray Marketing with office address at Room 501, 5th floor, Champ Building, Bonifacio Drive, Anda Circle, Port Area, Manila, failed to provide the BIR's Authority To Release Imported Goods (ATRIG).

The ATRIG is an authority issued by the BIR, addressed to the Commissioner, which allows the release of imported goods from the custody of Customs upon payment of rightful duties and taxes or proof of exemption from payment thereof and it must be issued prior to release from the BOC.

Lapena has also ordered an investigation of the customs broker and consignee’s permit to import luxury cars, to determine their liability and possible violation of Revenue Regulations Nos. 2-2016 and 25-2003 and Sections 1400 of the Republic Act No 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act of 2016.

"This is a blatant disregard of customs rules on importation. I am sure traders know what is required when bringing luxury vehicles into the country. I appeal to all importers not to disregard customs laws or else you will face the consequences of your malpractice,” he said.

On the other hand, Atty. Ruby Alameda, MICP district collector said that all shipments were processed by customs broker Roy Lasdoce and the vehicles were examined at the container yard at the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) last October 23.

Imported motor vehicles, apart from payment of customs duties are subject to the imposition of excise tax, as provided for by pertinent revenue regulations from the BIR. (PNA)