By Nonoy Lacson
ZAMBOANGA CITY – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) in this city has seized over P331 million worth of imported goods during the year with imported tobacco products topping the list.
In a year-end report to BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Zamboanga City District Collector Segundo Barte, Jr., said his office was able to confiscate P331.229 million worth of imported goods during the year.
Imported tobacco products topped the list corresponding to about 341,950 reams or about 6,839 master cases of illicit tobacco products worth P220 million.
The record was the highest so far in the history of BOC in this city, which has regularly seized tobacco products for many years.
Coming next in the list was the detention of about 13 vessels, that were used in transporting the imported tobacco products to this city without permits from the Philippine Tobacco Institute.
The 13 vessels have a combined estimated market value of P94.15 million, according to the report submitted by Barte to Guerrero.
Apprehension of imported rice and sugar has declined due to the Rice Tarrification Law, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte early this year.
The law has given rice importers an easy way in legalizing their rice importation activity to this country, he said.
The BOC also chanced upon some boxes of imported medicines with an estimated market value at P5 million, his report to Guerrero indicated.
“The seizure of this products were made possible through the help of other government agencies like the police, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG),” Barte said.
Barte vowed to work harder this year to eradicate or lessen the entry of smuggled goods to this city by closely coordinating with the police, the PCG and the Navy station in this region.
He said smugglers are always taking chances of bringing their goods to this city due to the proximity of the city to the Federal State of Malaysia where they can buy imported goods at a very low price and sold in this city at 400 to 500 marked profit.