BY JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
WHILE THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT is seriously looking for money to help aid the country’s ailing economy, billions of funds were denied by smuggling operators.
In three separate raids in Zamboanga City, Sulu and Misamis Oriental this week alone, billions worth of contrabands like cigarettes, red onions and fuel were seized.
At Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, operatives of the Bureau of Customs seized a total of Twenty Million (P20-M) in red onions illegally shipped by unnamed smugglers.
Atty. Justin Roman Geli, chief of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) in Northern Mindanao said the contraband was declared as bread and pastries.
“Examination of Alerted Shipment consigned to Asterzenmed Inc. with Bill of Lading (BL) nos. SITTARCD1460239 and SITTARCD145254 with container numbers TLLU1127887 and OTPU6548034 declared as Bread and Pastries found positive to contain undeclared onions,” the CIIS reported.
In Sulu Province, police authorities arrested three persons involved in the smuggling of fuel with an estimated amount of P832,000, a police official said.
The suspects were identified as Saji Ella, boat skipper, and his two crewmen, Arilon Ansuk and Ella Jamil.
The suspects were arrested by operatives in the seawaters of Barangay Mauboh, Patikul, Sulu, according to Col. Richard Verceles, operations chief of the Area Police Command-Western Mindanao.
Verceless said Sulu Maritime Police Station in coordination with other police forces immediately launched a seaborne patrol after they received a tip from concerned individuals that smuggled petroleum products are set to be unloaded in the reported area.
Police investigators have found that the diesel is allegedly owned by a certain Lorin of Pangutaran, Sulu while the boat was also owned by a certain Alyabir Lakibul with a known address at Taganak in Tawi-tawi.
In Zamboanga del Sur, three individuals were also arrested by police authorities and the raiding team seized more than One Million (P1.1-M) worth of smuggled cigarettes.
The police identified the suspects as Radzmer Ainami, 18, driver and a resident of Ipil town, Zamboanga Sibugay province; and his two truckmen, Al-Sharif Ammad, 27, and Mohhamad Nul Kasidi, 26, both residents of Barangay Kampung Islam, here.
Col Verceles also reported that the three arrested persons were accosted in the morning on Friday along the national highway in Purok 2, Barangay Guitran in Dumingag.
The suspects, the police official said, had failed to present pertinent documents of the cargo they were transporting when flagged down by police operatives – and this led to their arrest. — with PNA report