July 20, 2018, 10:25 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.0687 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.01833 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03442 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51646 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02528 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0333 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03741 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.57108 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03151 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00707 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 32.75309 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02527 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12832 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07203 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.27899 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.19255 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 374.4856 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03737 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02464 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01868 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 12.20576 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12563 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 53.5578 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 10.55649 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.77142 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.41506 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.32024 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.11972 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.93303 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.19981 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25129 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33389 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.51106 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01606 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03917 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01429 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01431 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08962 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.88982 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 168.66816 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14005 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 3.88103 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1468 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.44747 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1187 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.26057 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.20183 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 269.36027 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06796 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.28159 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 22.25963 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 813.69248 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 1.99588 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.43547 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01325 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.11107 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 1.8771 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.27484 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 75.70146 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 7.90311 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 16.83502 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 21.15413 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00566 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01534 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.4508 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 157.22035 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 28.15189 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 2.98915 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 3.00412 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24822 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05703 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01161 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02573 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17723 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.31076 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.98373 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 26.78638 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 45.80995 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15122 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.64048 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.64347 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.29125 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 13.40105 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.35353 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07589 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24819 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.7153 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.58586 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15284 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04293 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02753 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00719 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06114 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06073 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.39618 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0692 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 106.97905 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06809 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07472 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.18 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 15.95267 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07015 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14747 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.25122 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33483 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16573 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02554 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0143 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.41538 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 153.38571 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 10.68088 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 393.68313 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16367 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.633 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24845 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.62252 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04952 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04351 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08966 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12587 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.57159 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 42.49906 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.49158 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 69.56977 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01871 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.58277 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 145.09914 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 2239.05724 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 431.12608 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04265 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04883 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 10.52881 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05051 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 10.52881 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 1.90591 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.67265 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.24818 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 97.07258 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 6.76955 Zimbabwe dollar

Our problem is simply smuggling

It’s not as though we need to ask outsiders what has been happening to this country between 1960 and 2011 but it does help that the Global Financial Integrity Group (GFI) has an estimate of the “Illicit funds” that flowed into and out of the Philippines, estimated at $410.5 billion, a significant portion of which came in and left through smuggling. 
 
GFI is Washington-based research and advocacy group.
 
The illicit flow of funds through trade reduces domestic savings, drives the underground economy and facilitates crime, says the GFI group.
 
The report clearly puts the blame on the Bureau of Customs (BOC), pointing to massive technical smuggling as the main cause of the illicit flow of funds.
 
Over the 51-year period (1960-2011), the Philippines suffered $132.9 billion in illicit financial outflows from crime, corruption and tax evasion.
 
Conversely, $277.6 billion was illegally transferred into the country “predominantly through the misinvoicing of trade transactions,” says the report titled “Illicit Financial Flows to and from the Philippines: A Study in Dynamic Situation, 1960-2011.”
 
What they call ‘Misinvoicing’ is what we call “technical smuggling,” the underdeclaration of imported goods’ value, quantity or quality in order to reduce customs duties.
 
Since 1990, GFI calculates misinvoicing has cost the Philippine government at least $23 billion in lost tax revenues.
 
GFI’s report, funded by Ford Foundation, coincides with the current drive of the Aquino administration to reform the BOC, which ranks as one of the most corrupt agencies in various perception surveys.
 
On the average, one fourth of the value of all goods imported into the country is underreported to customs officials, says GFI.
 
Of all the illicit inflows into the country, 96 percent is affected by technical smuggling.
 
Whatever it is called, most of what passes through our BOC shortchanges the country and this is done with the cooperation of personnel whose salaries and retirement packages we are paying out of what we collect as taxes. GFI says of what is exported, 72 percent of the estimated amount was lost to the misinvoicing of goods, while 28 percent went to corruption, what is left for the government to spend for its good deeds? 
 
That’s money coming out of government coffers, basically. Is there some hidden benefits, such as imports often sold on the market cheaper than legally imported goods or locally produced goods being beneficial to price-conscious consumers.
 
The problem is that illicit flows facilitate illegal activity. It’s used to perpetuate the illegal activities of the underground economy. That’s why it’s a negative to the economy.
 
“For the sake of argument, let’s say that [smuggling] keeps prices down. But what you don’t see there–what the consumer doesn’t see–is the tax loss to the government and the [resulting] lack of government services that they might also benefit from,” says GFI.
 
Asked why GFI decided to come up with the report on the Philippines at this time, the answer is that “In our annual study, the Philippines kept coming up year after year after year in the top 10 or top 12 or top 14. So we said, that’s a good one.”
 
“We feel that the people whose interests are being furthered are the poor people of the Philippines, who are basically disenfranchised because of their economic status and lack of political power, and their inability to ‘game the system’ as so many others do.” 
 
Locally, the media treatment of the smugglers whose names come up in congressional inquiries -- from Bocalan and Camerino of the past and the David Tans, Mrs. T and Mr. T and other denizens become glorified into Robin Hood-like characters who have found a way to make a name and a fortune for themselves – as if the name of the game is to make money for oneself through whatever means, in government through graft and corruption or through smuggling and the devil take the winners.
 
As for the Aquino administration’s drive to address smuggling, the GFI says there was “no way to tell” yet whether recent reform efforts had met with success because the latest data on smuggling available to GFI were from 2011.
 
Two more years is needed to be able to assess the present government’s efforts to combat smuggling.
 
“What has this government done to address the problem? Rhetorically, it seems that they’re doing quite a bit,” GFI says , but added that it was “unclear if there is a political will” within the customs bureau to implement the planned reforms.
 
“But with the President’s statement during the State of the Nation Address last July, specifically about the customs department, political will seems to be changing for the better to really address this problem in a significant way.”
 
The GFI said the country should draw inspiration from South Korea, which started, more or less, at par with the country in the 1960s in terms of corruption and smuggling levels.
 
Since then, however, South Korea has shown a downward trajectory in terms of corruption, which corresponded with a decline in smuggling activities. The Philippines, on the other hand, exhibited the opposite.
 
“Political will is great. Research is great. Informing institutions is great. But it has to be sustained over the long haul, or it looks just like window-dressing,” GFI said.
 
So, folks, be wary in voting for your next president. Choose another one who will take care of his family and friends first and we’re in for another six years and more of rot and unabated smuggling and graft and corruption. It’s your choice and your vote. 
 
***
 
A fellow Rotarians in my Rotary Club of Pasig, Conrado Dumlao, died Monday from an aneurism. He was 80. Rading was going about his regular business day when he gave a small cough and lost consciousness. He was DOA. at the hospital. It was a painless way to go.
 
***
 
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