As the Bureau of Customs celebrates its 116th anniversary, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday afternoon witnessed the destruction of 20 smuggled luxury vehicles at the Bureau of Customs grounds in Manila. Seven other smuggled vehicles experienced a similar fate in Davao, while three more met their demise in Cebu.
The Chief Executive noted that smuggling has been going on for centuries already.
“Itong smuggling na ito, this kind of racket has been going on again and again, and again, over a period of centuries. Well, it has to stop,” he said.
In total, the Bureau of Customs seized P61.6 million worth of smuggled luxury cars were destroyed under the eyes of President Rodrigo Duterte himself. This includes a variety of BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes, a Ford Explorer, and a bunch of Toyota Land Cruisers. However, these cars weren’t what caught the eyes of car enthusiasts, not just in the Philippines, but also around the world. The car we are talking about is the 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. It is a pristine and well maintained C3 generation that is very valuable at this moment, with only 22,129 cars ever being made. That’s one less historically significant car now on this planet.
People pointed out the absence of the McLaren 720S and two Lamborghinis. As to what happened with these Italian supercars, we can’t speculate at this point.
The BOC’s move drew mixed reactions from people. Some said it is an effective way for the BOC to deter smuggles, as their basis of this is because, if a car were to be auctioned instead, the smugglers could just purchase the cars again. Some said the revenue earned from the auction can be put to good use. Some even said that the the Toyota Land Cruisers could be part of the Presidential Security Group’s fleet. Some were mainly concerned with the 1969 Corvette Stingray, insisting that it would be better if it was left in a museum instead for generations to enjoy.
Duterte explained that putting the luxury cars into auction would only allow the syndicates to bid for the seized vehicles.
“Ayaw kong ipagbili kasi kung ipagbili ko, consigned to a fictitious person, igagarahe lang ninyo ‘yan diyan… and when the time comes, they are sold to an auction, ‘yung auction diyang opisina, itatawag na rin sa isang sindikato dito, siya lang ‘yan eh,” he said.
“Huminto kayo, huminto kayo. At least during my time, I plead to you,” he added.