By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has stepped up its campaign against smuggling of imported goods into this city from Sabah, Malaysia and BaSulTa or the Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces.
BOC Zamboanga City District Collector Segundo Z. Barte, Jr. said Tuesday the BOC police, together with elements of the Philippine Coast Guard and Task Force Zamboanga, have started to board vessels that arrive here coming from Malaysia and BaSulTa.
Barte said he personally led the composite team of authorities in a daily morning inspection of boats, particularly those coming from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
“I personally led the team in the early morning inspection of passenger and cargo vessels that arrived here from Sulu and Tawi-Tawi for possible presence of smuggled goods such as rice and sugar including cigarettes,” Barte told newsmen here.
He said it was one way of eliminating the transportation of imported goods to this city by smugglers.
Barte said he also talked with boat captain and has informed them of the consequences should they allow the loading of imported or smuggled goods in their vessels.
“I talked with the boat captains serving the BaSulTa and Malaysia routes and informed them that their vessel can be detained and fine by BOC should they allow the loading into their vessel smuggled imported goods particularly sugar and cigarettes,” Barte said.
Barte vowed conduct a no non-sense drive against smuggling of imported goods in this city to free or minimize the arrival of imported goods.
Barte said his drive against smuggling was in compliance with a directive from BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
Earlier, Barte ordered destroyed 142 cases of imported cigarettes worth P4,409,000 million, which the agency confiscated from a commercial vessel that arrived here from Jolo in Sulu.