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Customs to oil firms: Comply with fuel marking

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The government on Saturday reminded other oil firms they still have three months to test their petroleum products under the Fuel Marking Program to avoid heavy penalties and prosecution.

Lawyer Teddy Raval, Customs Deputy Commissioner for Enforcement, made the appeal few days after his team and fuel marker consortium Sicpa SA-SGS Philippines resumed operation in Batangas on the petroleum products of Chevron Philippines Inc.

The marking of Chevron petroleum products was done at its import terminal in San Pascual, Batangas on Nov. 11.

Chevron Phils., which sells fuels through the Caltex brand, was among the country’s three major oil companies, including Pilipinas Shell and Petron Corp.

Three other oil firms—Seaoil Philippines, Inc, Unioil Petroleum and Insular Oil Company—have so far complied with the new policy, which according to Raval is intended to curb smuggling and shipment misdeclaration of petroleum products by placing a molecular marker in the refined fuel products—gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.

“The other oil companies with unmarked fuel are encouraged to do the same. They still have three months to comply. We will strictly enforce and impose penalties as mandated by the law,” he said.

The corresponding penalties include seizure of petroleum products, conveyances such as vessels or tank trucks, and closure of premises.

Raval said oil smuggling caused more than P40 billion in annual revenue losses.

“Chevron supports the government’s initiative to curb fuel smuggling through this fuel marking program. We hope that this program will level the playing field among the industry participants and ensure that all oil companies pay the correct taxes and help build the nation,” CPI Country Chairman Louie Zhang said.

By February 3, 2020, nationwide testing of fuel in the retail side as well as enforcement actions will commence.

The government also advised retailers to only buy and sell marked fuel “to avoid violation and possible penalties including criminal prosecution.”

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