Manila: A blue Ferrari is the latest luxury item to be bulldozed as the Philippines government continues to send a strong message to smugglers and tax dodgers that it means business.
The Ferrari soft-top convertible with an estimated price of P7 million (Dh502,993), was brought into the country in May with some of its parts detached in an apparent bid to skirt payment of taxes.
“The vehicle was wrongly declared as auto parts, to avoid payment of the right taxes,” Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said after a ceremony marking the destruction of seized smuggled items at the customs compound at the Port of Manila on Tuesday.
Also destroyed during the event were fake cigarettes and cigarette-making machines with an estimated worth of P157 million.
Over the past several months, the government had destroyed several hundred millions of pesos worth in seized smuggled items.
The list of items that went under the tracks of the bulldozers was enough to make any motoring fan wince.
On July 30, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte himself oversaw the destruction of luxury vehicles smuggled through the Port Irene in Santa Ana, Cagayan province in north eastern Philippines.
Among those crushed were Lamborghinis, BMWs, Mercedez Benzes as well as similarly expensive bikes such as Harley Davidsons, Triumphs and custom choppers.
In March 2018, customs authorities in Manila oversaw the destruction of expensive car models such as Maserati Quattroporte, a Porsche 911 GT3, a BMW Z1 and Alpina among others.
While the Philippine government does not restrict the importation of expensive motor vehicles, it requires importers and owners to pay proper taxes.
The Bureau of Customs (BoC) is tagged as among the most corrupt government agencies.
Duterte has specifically mentioned the agency as a prime target of his anti-corruption campaign during his presidential address last Monday.
During his fourth State of the Nation Address, Duterte said that a total of 63 Customs employees and officials are currently facing criminal charges.
Guerrero said he will carry out the President’s orders although the Custom’s collections had been steadily improving during the past months.
“President Rodrigo Duterte has made it clear to all that anti-graft and corruption is among, if not, his top priority during his remaining years as President," said Guerero.
"He cited the Bureau of Customs (BOC)’s impressive collection last year and noted how much more it could have been had the BOC been cleaned of graft and corrupt officials.”