By BETHEENA KAE UNITE
In a matter of minutes, 20 luxury cars valued at P61,626,000 were reduced to a pile of heap worth about P32,000.
With President Duterte and top officials watching, two rows of cars that include a Corvette Stingray, BMWs and Mercedes Benzes, were pulverized by an earthmover while a backhoe pounded for good measure.
The sound of crushed metals filled the air as Customs employees cheered and clapped. Others recorded the spectacle on their phones.
The event held at the Customs ground was intended to serve as a stern warning to smugglers.
The used cars destroyed were Lexus, BMW Alpina, Honda Odessy, Mini Pajero, Mazda Roadster, Mitsubishi MMC, Toyota SW Towage Noah, Corvette Stringray, 2007 Mercedez Benz S550, Ford Explorer Base 3.5L, Nissan, 1995 Mercedez Benz C280, BMW 745, BMW 745Li, Hyundai Equus JS350, Audi A6 Quattro, BMW Z4, Jaguar type S, and two units of Mitsubishi Pajero.
During his speech on the occasion of the Custom’s anniversary, the President said he will shoulder whatever value was left on the destroyed cars and will give the scrap to junk shops.
According to Deputy Commissioner Edward James Dy Buco, each car was reduced to about P1,600 value.
“Actually, P1, 600 per vehicle na lang yan, ‘yang mga scrap,” Dy Buco said. “We will just coordinate with them kung paano ‘yun, kung kanino ibibigay.”
Dy Buco said that after the public condemnation, the vehicles will be further crushed by the bureau.
“Sisirain pa talaga ‘yun, so scrap value na lang ‘yun. The scrap value is P400 per metric ton. Our rough estimate there is that every vehicle weighs around four tons,” he said.
After the vehicles are destroyed, the scrap will be weighed to determine the exact value, which the president vowed to shoulder.
Another 10 luxury vehicles were also destroyed in Cebu and Davao.
The vehicles destroyed in Davao were Toyota Tundra, Mercedez Benz 2012, two units of Toyota Land Cruiser, all used; and Mercedez Benz, two units of Toyota, all brand new.
In Cebu, the destroyed vehicles were an Audi S5, 2012 Jeep Wrangler and Mercedez Benz CLK 350.