By BEN BALCE
Staff member .
MINDANAO Container Terminal (MCT) customs collector John Simon on Tuesday confirmed that there are many abandoned cargo containers in the port in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, but clarified that the number has not reached 880.
“The overstaying cargo containers are only less than a hundred, and not 880,” said Simon.
Pressed to reveal exactly how many overstaying containers cargo there are at MCT, Simon said there are 150.
Simon said this in reaction to Misamis Oriental 2nd District Rep. Juliette Uy’s call for the Bureau of Customs to open and check the contents of 880 container vans. Uy said the Commission on Audit has said these may pose health and environmental risks.
Simon said there are over 6,000 overstaying containers that can be found in various ports throughout the country, and some are in the MCT.
According to a COA report, the contents of some containers have been left to rot from 30 days to up to 25 years despite BOC regulations on abandoned perishable goods. Those unclaimed after a month should be auctioned off based on the rules.
Simon however said the customs bureau cannot dispose of an overstaying cargo without a court order.
In the case of the containers at the MCT, he said, there are legal issues that need to be addressed first.
He said the containers are not supported by import-entry documents which, based on rules, should be filed 15 days from off-loading from a vessel.
Simon said that aside from that, the BOC also requires the declaration of information on imported or exported goods prepared by a customs broker on a prescribed forms.
He said duties and taxes should be paid 15 days after final assessment, and failure to claim within 30 days after payment would mean seizure of the goods in favor of the government.