By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero has ordered the local Bureau of Customs (BOC) here to mount an “all-out campaign against all forms of smuggling of imported goods” that resulted in the seizure Friday of 190 sacks of imported gluttonous rice with an estimated market value of P700,000.
BOC Zamboanga City District Collector Segundo Barte, Jr., said they confiscated at least 190 sacks of 50 kilos per sack of imported gluttonous rice from M/L Nuriza upon her arrival to this city Friday morning from Pangutaran in Sulu.
“We received reliable information that several sacks of gluttonous rice were onboard M/L Nuriza. We immediately process the information and waited for the vessel to arrive here,” Barte said.
BOC authorities, in tandem with the local police and military, as well as the Philippine Coast Guard, immediately boarded the vessel that docked at Wee Bin Wharf , and found several sacks of glutinous rice hidden under several sacks of copra.
According to Barte, that BOC investigators found out that the sacks of imported rice were sent to this city by unidentified trader from Pangutaran, Sulu as no one claimed ownership of the imported cargo.
Barte clarified to traders of imported goods here that BoC in this city was strictly implementing the order of Guerrero, who is determined “to rid the city of imported smuggled goods.”
He advises traders of rice and sugar here to secure the necessary importation permits to avoid confiscation of their imported goods.
He said “that traders for rice and sugar in this city can secure importation permit but for cigarettes and other tobacco products “no” and we really have to confiscate the tobacco products,” he said.
Barte also warned owners of local inter island vessels here of possible seizure of their vessel if they will continue to load imported cargoes without the necessary importation documents or receipt.
“I will not hesitate to issue a warrant of seizure and detention (WSD) against any inter island vessels if they will continue to ignore BoC laws,” he said.
Barte also thanked the local community here for their continued cooperation and support that had led to the series of confiscation of imported goods by BoC in this city since late last year when he assumed as BoC district collector in this city.
Barte hoped that the cooperation and relationship between BoC and stakeholders here will further improve to free the city of imported good that has disturbed the local produce products sold at the markets.