Customs execs, cops padlock oil firm tanks over unpaid tax

Inquirer
Last updated 06:16am (Mla time) 07/29/2007

MARIVELES, Bataan, Philippines—Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales padlocked on Thursday the Oilink Terminal’s oil storage tank in Barangay Lucanin here for tax deficiency amounting to P353 million.

 

Morales, who personally sealed off the storage tank’s main gate valve with packing tape, said the Oilink’s principal tax obligation amounted only to P139 million in September 2004 but because of penalties it ballooned to P353 million.

 

“The Oilink had been given a seven-day grace period within which to settle its tax problem with the government but still failed to do so,” Morales said.

 

The tank contained about 40 million liters of diesel fuel and other petroleum products, which the Bureau of Customs could offer for public bidding unless the company settled its obligation within 30 days, he said.

 

Payment

 

“The company’s storage content is more than enough to settle its obligations,” Morales said, adding that more oil companies are expected to suffer the same fate as did Oilink unless they comply with the tariffs and customs code.

 

Established in 1996, the Oilink Terminal stores and supplies diesel fuel, gasoline, asphalt and other petroleum products to its outlets, Unioil gasoline stations.

 

Kennetch Pundanera, marketing and operations manager of Unioil, bewailed what he called “use of force” in padlocking the oil terminal.

 

He said customs officials, with the help of the police special action force, treated the Oilink workers “as if they were criminals” when they raided the office.

 

Pundanera said there was no prior notice of the closure order from the Bureau of Customs or the police so his staff and barge workers were surprised by the police operation. Greg Refraccion, Inquirer Central Luzon

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