THE Senate has temporarily shelved hearings on the anti-smuggling bill pending ratification of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) by the Senate.
The move aims to reduce duplication of work since the bill should be crafted in accordance with provisions of the RKC and the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP),which is also being reviewed.
The Bureau of Customs is expected to finish reviewing proposed amendments to the TCCP by July 15.
Originally, the anti-smuggling bill should have been passed before the end of the first regular session. The deadline has been moved to yearend.
Pending before both Houses of Congress since 2005, the bill seeks to impose stricter penalties against smuggling which has rid the government of about P200 billion in revenues annually.
The proposed bill increases the penalty for outright and technical smuggling from P10,000 to P2 million and imprisonment from 12 years to life. Fines will be based on the appraised value, including duties and taxes, of the imported articles.
The proposed bill is not without its oppositors. One group claims the measure will hamper cargo movement because it includes reportorial requirements over which some sectors have no control.