December 17, 2017, 10:14 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.07288 UAE Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 2.24593 Albanian Lek
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03533 Neth Antilles Guilder
1 Philippine Peso = 0.34712 Argentine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02593 Australian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03533 Aruba Florin
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0397 Barbados Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.63815 Bangladesh Taka
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03288 Bulgarian Lev
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00748 Bahraini Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 34.75546 Burundi Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01985 Bermuda Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02675 Brunei Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13617 Bolivian Boliviano
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06539 Brazilian Real
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01985 Bahamian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 1.2763 Bhutan Ngultrum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.20411 Botswana Pula
1 Philippine Peso = 397.3799 Belarus Ruble
1 Philippine Peso = 0.03965 Belize Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02552 Canadian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01965 Swiss Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 12.62406 Chilean Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13118 Chinese Yuan
1 Philippine Peso = 59.40849 Colombian Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 11.184 Costa Rica Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01985 Cuban Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 1.86245 Cape Verde Escudo
1 Philippine Peso = 0.43364 Czech Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 3.50992 Djibouti Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12575 Danish Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 0.94204 Dominican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.28011 Algerian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26427 Estonian Kroon
1 Philippine Peso = 0.35252 Egyptian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.5391 Ethiopian Birr
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01689 Euro
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04119 Fiji Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01488 Falkland Islands Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0149 British Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08949 Ghanaian Cedi
1 Philippine Peso = 0.93628 Gambian Dalasi
1 Philippine Peso = 177.61016 Guinea Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.14561 Guatemala Quetzal
1 Philippine Peso = 4.01171 Guyana Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15502 Hong Kong Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.46602 Honduras Lempira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.12717 Croatian Kuna
1 Philippine Peso = 1.24851 Haiti Gourde
1 Philippine Peso = 5.30468 Hungarian Forint
1 Philippine Peso = 269.45216 Indonesian Rupiah
1 Philippine Peso = 0.0697 Israeli Shekel
1 Philippine Peso = 1.27173 Indian Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 23.50139 Iraqi Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 706.60975 Iran Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 2.09111 Iceland Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 2.47122 Jamaican Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01404 Jordanian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 2.23456 Japanese Yen
1 Philippine Peso = 2.04347 Kenyan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 1.38392 Kyrgyzstan Som
1 Philippine Peso = 79.89281 Cambodia Riel
1 Philippine Peso = 8.1582 Comoros Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 17.86423 North Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 21.58495 Korean Won
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00599 Kuwaiti Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01628 Cayman Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 6.65919 Kazakhstan Tenge
1 Philippine Peso = 164.78761 Lao Kip
1 Philippine Peso = 29.88289 Lebanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 3.0389 Sri Lanka Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 2.48432 Liberian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26141 Lesotho Loti
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06051 Lithuanian Lita
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01232 Latvian Lat
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02704 Libyan Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.1878 Moroccan Dirham
1 Philippine Peso = 0.33869 Moldovan Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.03414 Macedonian Denar
1 Philippine Peso = 27.03454 Myanmar Kyat
1 Philippine Peso = 48.15403 Mongolian Tugrik
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15967 Macau Pataca
1 Philippine Peso = 6.9869 Mauritania Ougulya
1 Philippine Peso = 0.67209 Mauritius Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.30905 Maldives Rufiyaa
1 Philippine Peso = 14.16276 Malawi Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 0.37963 Mexican Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 0.08094 Malaysian Ringgit
1 Philippine Peso = 0.2608 Namibian Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 7.10599 Nigerian Naira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.60838 Nicaragua Cordoba
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16635 Norwegian Krone
1 Philippine Peso = 2.03573 Nepalese Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02839 New Zealand Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.00762 Omani Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01985 Panama Balboa
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06535 Peruvian Nuevo Sol
1 Philippine Peso = 0.06434 Papua New Guinea Kina
1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 2.17745 Pakistani Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07099 Polish Zloty
1 Philippine Peso = 111.57205 Paraguayan Guarani
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07225 Qatar Rial
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07797 Romanian New Leu
1 Philippine Peso = 1.1679 Russian Rouble
1 Philippine Peso = 16.58892 Rwanda Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07443 Saudi Arabian Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.15358 Solomon Islands Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26852 Seychelles Rupee
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13219 Sudanese Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.16899 Swedish Krona
1 Philippine Peso = 0.02675 Singapore Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01489 St Helena Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.44077 Slovak Koruna
1 Philippine Peso = 151.44898 Sierra Leone Leone
1 Philippine Peso = 11.09567 Somali Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 413.80507 Sao Tome Dobra
1 Philippine Peso = 0.17368 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 10.22191 Syrian Pound
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26054 Swaziland Lilageni
1 Philippine Peso = 0.6449 Thai Baht
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04961 Tunisian Dinar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.04557 Tongan paʻanga
1 Philippine Peso = 0.07666 Turkish Lira
1 Philippine Peso = 0.13159 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.5944 Taiwan Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 44.30329 Tanzanian Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.54875 Ukraine Hryvnia
1 Philippine Peso = 71.55617 Ugandan Shilling
1 Philippine Peso = 0.01985 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.57046 Uruguayan New Peso
1 Philippine Peso = 160.57959 Uzbekistan Sum
1 Philippine Peso = 0.198 Venezuelan Bolivar
1 Philippine Peso = 450.55577 Vietnam Dong
1 Philippine Peso = 2.09845 Vanuatu Vatu
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05144 Samoa Tala
1 Philippine Peso = 11.07165 CFA Franc (BEAC)
1 Philippine Peso = 0.05359 East Caribbean Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 11.49782 CFA Franc (BCEAO)
1 Philippine Peso = 2.00337 Pacific Franc
1 Philippine Peso = 4.96129 Yemen Riyal
1 Philippine Peso = 0.26079 South African Rand
1 Philippine Peso = 103.00714 Zambian Kwacha
1 Philippine Peso = 7.18341 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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