By GERRY LEE GORIT, Correspondent
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Region 10 under Atty. Ruby Claudia Almeda has intensifed its anti-smuggling drive in all public and private ports in Northern Mindanao, including the city of Zamboanga and the town of Liloy in Zamboanga del Norte, a customs official recently said.
BOC Intelligence Office II Alvin Y. Enciso told the Philippine Star that the bureau is now closely monitoring the shorelines under its jurisdiction following reports that traders are now using the privately-owned ports as dropping points of their smuggled goods.
Enciso said the bureau is now strictly and vigilant in monitoring all shorelines due to the presence of private wharfs that are unmanned by BOC “twenty-four seven.”
The BOC, he said, is specifically monitoring more than 90 private wharfs in Zamboanga City and a private port in Medina in Misamis Oriental.
In Zamboanga City, he said that despite numerous arrests made by the bureau, smuggling of rice, sugar, ukay-ukay (used clothes), and even cigarettes remained a problem due to the presence of unmanned private ports.
He said erring traders are using small boats (usually banca) to ferry smuggle goods from nearby countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia.
Enciso also said the BOC has already sent a team to closely monitor the “paihi” oil smuggling in the town of Medina.
He, however, admitted that the BOC cannot monitor all the private ports saying the agency is undermanned. “Kulang talaga ang mga tao sa bureau and this is the reason why the BOC would resort to profiling of some wharfs,” said the customs official.
The BOC in Region 10 has already asked for an augmentation of personnel from BOC-Central Office to effectively carry out its anti-smuggling drive.
Enciso said the BOC is thankful to other law enforcement agencies such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) that served as the BOC’s force multiplier.
Earlier, the Intelligence Group (IG) of the BOC under Gen. Jessie Dellosa (retired) made a landmark accomplishment when its port of Cagayan de Oro-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CDO-CIIS) recorded the agency’s biggest seizure of ukay-ukay (used clothe).
Enciso said the agency was able to stop the release of 21 units of 40-footer container vans that were filled with ukay-ukay last month. The shipment was estimated to be worth P52,500,000 in the market.
The shipment entered and was intercepted at the Mindanao International Container Port Terminal (MICTP) in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, which is a sub-port of the Cagayan de Oro port. “By virtue of the 21 alert orders issued by Customs Deputy Commissioner Intelligence Group (IG) Jessie Dellosa, we were able to hold on to the shipment,” said Enciso.
“The intensified vigilance against smuggling of the CIIS in the port of Cagayan de Oro paid off. We had set a new record in the BOC in terms of the number of apprehended container vans of used clothing. Under the guidance of DepCom Dellosa, we would surely do our best to accomplish more feats in our future operations,” he added.
All the 21 container vans were issued with Warrants of Seizure and Detention (WSD) and Forfeiture Orders given by Attorney Ruby Claudia Alameda, district collector of Cagayan de Oro port. The shipment came from Malaysia and Korea. They arrived the MICTP between July 4 to 11, 2015.
They were all consigned to Greener Pasture Marketing with address at no. 36 Acacia Street, Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City. While the customs broker was Abel Avergonzado, of Purok Talisayan, San Nicholas, Buhangin, Davao City.
The shipment is made up of assorted articles such as bed covers, bed sheets, pillow case, blankets, bags, shoes and the prohibited Used clothing or Ukay-ukay.
He explained that while the importation of ukay-ukay is already a violation in itself, the CIIS also discovered “insertions” of other items in the 21 container vans that were not mentioned in their respective Import Entry documents.
“We discovered that some ukay-ukay smugglers ventured into a new modus operandi. If before, the declared items were a complete falsity, now, they admit that it is a shipment of used clothing, except that they failed to mention some of the contents,” Enciso added.
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