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Swiss tapped for fuel marking

Joshua Lao

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The government has tapped two Swiss companies who are acknowledged experts in their respective fields to help safeguard against rampant smuggling that costs the national coffers more or less P44 billion a year as revenue opportunities.

This developed as the Bureau of Customs (BoC), in tandem with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), completed drafting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) that will be used as template in the much-anticipated fuel marking schemed for such excisable products as gasoline, diesel and kerosene.

As the government continues to strive in cutting its revenue losses, particularly on smuggled and undeclared fuel, both BoC and BIR have already drafted the IRR for the fuel marking program.

With the IRR completed, the Department of Finance (DoF) said this will ensure the timely adoption of the program eyed to cut serial government losses in the billions of pesos validated by a study commissioned by the local oil industry.

Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven said the draft IRR will be matched with the drawn masterplan by the chosen fuel marking providers.

At the recent Executive Committee meeting, Joven told Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III the masterplan has already been submitted by the chosen providers, SICPA SA and SGS Philippines.

SICPA SA is acknowledged as global leader of security inks for sensitive documents such as passports, transport tickets, lottery tickets and similar important papers.

SGS is also a Geneva-based company providing inspection, verification, testing and certification services to governments and private entities around the world.

The Swiss joint venture will set the fuel marking program in motion with the BoC as the lead implementing agency as mandated by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act.

The fuel marking provider is tasked with embedding a unique chemical marker at the molecular level on petroleum products such as gasoline, kerosene and diesel.

Dominguez ordered DoF officials involved in the fuel marking program implementation to bring the newly appointed BoC chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero up to speed with its target date of execution early next year.

“I expect that the commissioner is fully briefed on that,” Dominguez said.

Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said the timeline for the program’s implementation will be laid out from a masterplan targeted for early next year but with no specific date yet.

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