STA. ANA, Cagayan—President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, March 14, witnessed the public destruction of smuggled luxury vehicles worth P27.2 million in Port Irene, the second batch of illegally shipped vehicles to be destroyed under his administration.
The President witnessed last month similar public condemnation of smuggled vehicles at the Port of Manila during the anniversary of the Bureau of Customs. The destruction of the vehicles was simultaneously done in the ports of Cebu and Davao.
“We reaffirm our commitment to build a country free from the shackles of corruption. This condemnation of these smuggled vehicles demonstrates our firm stand to put an end to a longstanding societal disease that has eroded public trust and tainted the government’s sincerity to deliver equitable social services,” the President said during the event at Port Irene.
“The destruction of these contraband luxury vehicles signifies our strong resolve to restore good governance, preserve our nation’s dignity and safeguard our people’s welfare, he said.
The President reiterated that he will never tolerate smuggling and all forms of irregularities in the country’s ports, especially at the freeports as he stressed that illegal practices will be dealt with to ensure that every government agency is free from corruption.
President Duterte then called upon every local government official, civic leader and the general public to stand with his government in forging a drug-, crime-, and corruption-free Philippines.
He said that the confiscation of the luxury cars implies that there is still a lot of work to be done until the people have stronger and more progressive nation they deserve.
“Together, let us fight for a better government and for a better Philippines that will last generations. This will be our most important legacy as public servants and as Filipinos,” he said.
President Duterte also recognized the contributions of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) to national development, noting that CEZA’s commitment to spur economic and social development has promoted efficiency and good governance not only inside the eco-zone but in the entire region.
The 14 luxury vehicles, worth P27.2 million, are part of 855 vehicles impounded in Port Irene. CEZA CEO and Administrator Raul Lambino said they will also destroy the remaining more than 800 illegally acquired vehicles at the port, including several luxury motorcycles.
Smuggled vehicles destroyed Wednesday include eight Mercedes Benz, one Porsche, one Maserati, two BMWs, as well as an Opel and Renault sedans.
The public destruction of the illegally imported cars is aimed at discouraging smugglers from shipping in expensive vehicles.
In the same speech, President Duterte reiterated his commitment to put an end to the illegal drug problem as well as criminality.
He also vowed to attain lasting peace in Mindanao through the adoption of a federal form of government.
The President likewise fended off accusations that he leans towards dictatorship.
“If by 2020, we could have perfected the structure and we can move ahead, and if it is already fine-tuned, I still have about until 2022. But if it calls for an election of a President, I will step down immediately,” Duterte said.
“‘Yan ang ipangako ko sa inyo. Hindi ho ako magiging diktador. I’m tired and I want to retire,” he said.
“I never lost an election and I would want it to be that way. So huwag ho kayong matakot,” he assured. ### (PND)