PORT IRENE, Cagayan — The destruction of first 14 luxury vehicles worth over P80 million at Port Irene, jewel of the Cagayan Economic Zone and Freeport, “shuts the door permanently on its dark history as entry point for contraband cars,” said Secretary Raul L. Lambino, Administrator and CEO of CEZA.
As President Rodrigo R. Duterte and officials of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority and a crowd of 500 watched, a bulldozer and a backhoe rolled over two rows of the luxury cars, which were brought into the country a few years ago despite a government ban on their importation.
“Not during my watch,” the President said during his speech.
Lambino said the vehicles included one each of Porsche 911 GT3, Maserati Quattro Porte, BMW Alpina B12, BMW Z1, Opel Manta, one Renault R5 and eight Mercedes Benzes.
“This will send a strong message that CEZA does not, and will never again, tolerate or condone or encourage smuggling or wrongdoing of any kind at the Freeport,” said Lambino, who had earlier met the President upon his arrival at Lal-lo airport, forty-five minutes by car southwest of here.
A total of 841 other vehicles also impounded by CEZA authorities at Port Irene will be scheduled for public destruction “since they are contraband items,” he said.
These would include a late model Lamborghini and several Porches, Hummers, Mercedes Benz, BMWs, Land Cruisers, Mustangs, Alphards, Pajeros, Harley Davidson big bikes and hundreds of utility vans.
The CEZA Board decided to destroy the impounded cars, Lambino said, “consistent with the relentless anti-corruption campaign of the government”.
He also said that CEZA will appeal to the President to allow the Zone to utilize the scrap metal from the destroyed luxury vehicles for the building of A planned “Monument of Transformation, large in scale and size,” at the entrance to Port Irene.
“Filipinos of this generation and the coming ones will be reminded by this monument that we, in government service, put our highest value in integrity over greed, in honesty over fraud, and in faithfulness to our duty over deception,” Lambino said.