Philippine cement firm Southern Cross Cement Corp (SCCC) is currently being investigated by the Bureau of Customs (BoC) for allegedly undervaluing their import entry declarations and for the alleged illegal withdrawal of Portland cement it imported from Japan. The probe came after the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) called the agency’s attention to SCCC’s alleged undeclaration of 46,000t of cement it imported from Japan. In a letter to the BoC, the PCCI also claimed SCCC - which recently benefited from a Supreme Court ruling disallowing safeguard tariffs on imported cement - withdrew the shipments without the authorization of the BoC.
The PCCI alleged that in the four shipments made by SCCC, the freight rate the company declared was "unreasonably low" and that the company had undervalued two shipments of cement from Japan. IT said SCCC avoided paying P6 million in Customs taxes and P18 million in value-added tax. SCCC administrative manager Isagani Fernandez, however, belied the allegations. "They’re questioning the valuation we used but they cannot show proof that the valuation method... is incorrect," he said.
As for the alleged illegal withdrawal, Mr. Fernandez said the BoC has a so-called tentative liquidation scheme under which companies that have already paid the taxes earlier billed can withdraw their shipments.