After several years of staying idle at the Port Irene in Sta. Ana, Cagayan, over 700 seized second-hand vehicles were finally turned over to various government agencies Thursday.
A total of 758 forfeited vehicles, which had been staying in Cagayan untouched, were formally donated to agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Presidential Security Group (PSG) among others.
The PNP got 120 units, AFP had 60, while five units were donated to the PSG while the remaining 573 units, according to the bureau, are earmarked for donation to other government agencies.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, who led the turnover activity, said that the initiative aims to improve the mobility status of various government agencies which would save the government millions in procurement costs.
Among the vehicles donated were sports utility vehicles, vans, wagons and high mobility vehicles.
The vehicles, which remained abandoned at the said port since 2014, were seized in violation of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Executive Order No. 156, banning the importation of second-hand vehicles in order to strengthen the local automotive industry and to deter smuggling.
“As a rule, the entry of used and smuggled vehicles into the country is strictly prohibited and the subject vehicles once seized are destroyed through condemnation proceedings by the Bureau of Customs. However, in 2019 the government decided to distribute the seized vehicles to government agencies instead of destroying and letting them rot,” Guerrero said.
In 2018, 14 luxury vehicles seized in Sta. Ana, Cagayan were destroyed while in 2019, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) turned over at least 50 seized luxury vehicles to the Santa Ana local government, PNP, and AFP.
In 2019, the Customs bureau also formed a legal team to look into the case of the seized second hand vehicles before donating them.
The formal turn over and signing of the deed of donation was attended by representatives from the PNP, PSG, and Port of Appari District Collector Arienito Claveria, CEZA Deputy Administrator Agrimero Cruz and Land Transportation Office Chief-Operations Division Hanzley Lim.