By Genalyn Kabiling
It was his marching order to destroy smuggled motor vehicles but on Wednesday, President Duterte felt regret with the wrecking of a Harley Davidson motorcycle at the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
The President, a motorcycle enthusiast, admitted that he was crushed when he saw the Harley motorbike being reduced to scrap metal by a bulldozer.
A used Harley Davidson was among the 122 smuggled motorbikes and other vehicles destroyed by a bulldozer during a ceremony at the customs office in Manila. The luxury cruiser, smuggled in Subic port, had an estimated cost of $15,008.
“‘Yung bumagsak ‘yung ngipin doon sa Harley, para akong tinamaan rin sa likod dduuuuyyy [When the bulldozer’s teeth fell on the Harvey, I felt like being hit on my back too. Ouch],” the President said during the BoC ceremony.
“Nanghinayang ako eh [I regret it],” he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Duterte admitted that he likes motorbikes, recalling that he once owned a Harley motorbike. He said some motorbike importers are his friends because “I ride motorbikes too.”
“My Harley, well I bought it when I was mayor, that would be something like 1987. It’s an old… Mahilig rin ako sa motor [I’m really fond of motorbikes],” he said.
The former Davao City mayor said his friends have offered to buy him a motorbike but he declined their offer.
“You know, friends would just say that they can buy it. Sabi ko, ‘kung pagbigyan kita, pagbigyan ko lahat’ [I said, ‘If I allow you, I’ll have to grant others too’],” he said.
Apart from the Harley Davidson motorbike, the President witnessed the destruction of 112 new Vespa scooter, one used BMW motorcycle, two Triumph motorcycles, a Mitsubishi Pajero, two Land Rover sports utility vehicles, and Volvo car at the customs port. The vehicles had an estimated value of P34.7 million.
Duterte lauded the customs personnel for their hard work, and urged them to continue to perform well.
The President has authorized the destruction of smuggled cars instead of placing them for auction. The move aims to send a strong message to car owners who do not pay correct import duties.