By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Naval Task Group-Sulu (NTG-Sulu) intercepted a motor launch loaded with an estimated 136,350 reams of imported cigarettes worth P85 million, and 200 sacks of ammonium nitrate, a bomb-making component.
Bureau of Customs (BoC) Zamboanga City District Collector Segundo Barte, Jr., said the fresh haul of 2,727 cartons of cigarettes was estimated to be valued at P85 million, the biggest haul since he assumed as BoC collector in this city last year.
Barte said NTG-Sulu intercepted M/L 3 Brothers off the waters of east Tara Island in Siasi, Sulu on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 27.
He told reporters here that the importer of the tobacco products failed to present to the NTG-Sulu the importation papers of the imported tobacco products, making the shipment illegal.
According to Barte the trader of the imported tobacco products violated Executive Order No. 245, governing the exportation and Importation of tobacco and Tobacco Products” and Section 117 and 1113 paragraphs a and f and of RA 10863 otherwise known as the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) of 2016.
In a report to Barte, Naval Forces Western Mindanao Commander Rear Adm. Erick Kagaoan said “through the intelligence efforts of the different units, the Naval Task Group-Sulu was able to monitor and intercept M/L 3 Brothers loaded with smuggled tobacco products coming from Malaysia.”
Kagaoan said the information his office got stated that M/L 3 Brothers vessel, with a crew of 10, was also loaded with approximately 200 sacks of ammonium nitrate worth P150,000.
Reports indicated that a case of cigarettes (containing 50 reams) cost only P5,000 and is being sold at the market at P23,000 per case, making it difficult for BOC to totally stop the entry of imported cigarettes to this city.
For his part, BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero congratulated Barte, NaForWeM Commander Rear Adm. Kagaoan and the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) Commander Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana for their excellent coordination with each other.
“I would like to extend my sincere congratulation BOC Coll Barte, NaForWeM Commander Rear Adm. Kagaoan and the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) Commander Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana for their excellent coordination with each other.
“I hope their good relationship and excellent coordination will continue in order to be able to totally curtail smuggling in Southern Philippines and Zamboanga City in particular,” Guerrero said.
“With the recent successes in our campaign against smuggling, the NaForWeM continuously intensify its operation to prevent the entry of imported goods in the region without proper documents,” Sobejana said.
The intercepted vessel and the confiscated items are temporarily placed under the custody ofNaForWeM in this city for proper documentation and disposition.