P1.2-M worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in Port of Zamboanga

Marje Pelayo   •   July 12, 2019   •   1215

Courtesy: Bureau of Customs

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — A total of 2,125 reams of smuggled cigarettes amounting to P1.2 million were confiscated at the port of Zamboanga on Wednesday (July 10).

According to the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the illegal shipments were uncovered on board three passenger vessels: MV Mama Mia, MV Mary Joy 1 and MV Asian Stars, all from Jolo, Sulu.

Members of the BOC Enforcement and Security Service (BOC-ESS) and the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) launched the operation with assistance from the Naval Intelligence and Security Group – Western Mindanao and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The latest seizure caused concern for the BOC noting the prevalence of cigarette smuggling in the area, according to Zamboanga District Collector Segundo Sigmundfreud Barte.

The BOC cited that the agency already hauled P60 million worth of smuggled cigarettes just between April and June this year.

Nevertheless, Barte stressed that the Bureau will continue its fervent effort to fight illicit cigarette trade in cooperation with concerned government agencies. The seized cigarettes were already turned over to the BOC for immediate destruction

Several barangays in Zamboanga city submerged in floodwater due to ‘Marilyn’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 13, 2019

Several barangays in Zamboanga City are submerged in flood due to the heavy rains brought by tropical depression ‘Marilyn’ this week.

There is also no electricity in several areas due to broken power lines.

Classes have been suspended in all levels while the Philippine Coast Guard (PSG) already cancelled sea travel for the safety of the passengers.

Meanwhile, various rescue units in Zamboanga City continue to conduct their rescue operations to aid residents affected by the severe flooding. Affected barangays include, Barangay Putik, San Jose Gusu, and Santa Maria.

The local government continues to advise residents in the low-lying areas to immediately evacuate to avoid the effects of the flood.—AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Duterte monitoring 100 more Customs execs linked to corruption

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is monitoring 100 more Bureau of Customs (BOC) officials allegedly involved in corruption within the agency.

In a speech during the launching of Bataan government center and Business in Balanga town on Thursday, Duterte said he received a list of 164 BOC executives purportedly engaging in corrupt practices.

The president then quoted a former Customs’ employee who said that removing these officials would rid the agency of corruption.

“At itong Customs, I was given a list of 164. They have been there already for 38 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years,” he said.

“Sabi nung taong ma-acquit sana, an ex-employee of — sa Customs, ‘itong mga tao na ito, ‘Mayor, kung matanggal mo ito, mawawala ang corruption sa gobyerno,’” he added.

“In the meantime that I am investigating the 64, I think they were already suspended by the Ombudsman, I’m still trying to look for these 100 idiots, these sons of a b****,” the president further stated.

Sixty-four of these officials have already been placed on floating status in July and are facing administrative and criminal charges for unlawful activities.

READ: Duterte orders freezing of several Customs officials, employees

Duterte earlier suggested the removal of brokers and examiners at the Customs bureau to significantly reduce corruption in the agency.

He also suggested that instead of brokers, the BOC may be allowed to accredit or designate individuals or companies to arrange their shipment.

READ: Duterte wants brokers, examiners removed from PH Customs

Following Duterte’s proposal, BOC executives met on Wednesday (Sept.11) but have yet to release any information on their discussion on a new system seeking to eliminate the use of brokers in the processing of shipments in the port area. RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte wants brokers, examiners removed from PH Customs

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is looking to remove brokers and examiners from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to significantly reduce corruption within the agency.

“Ang gusto ko wala nang brokers, pag may brokers, may corruption talaga yan,” Duterte told reporters on Tuesday night in Malacañang.

The president believes that if brokers and examiners are eliminated from the system, the persistent corruption in the BOC would be addressed.

“Kung gusto nilang walang corruption, tanggalin natin yung mga ano gross, wala nang examiners, sa Customs, wala ng brokers,” he said.

The Chief Executive suggested that instead of brokers, the BOC may be allowed to accredit or designate individuals or companies to arrange their shipment.

“Ang kumpanya may accreditation lang sila, sila na mismo ang magtrabaho duon,” he said.

Duterte has been lamenting the corruption in the BOC, prompting him to order a revamp and make agency leadership changes. So far, the president has appointed three BOC chiefs – first was Nicanor Faeldon, followed by Isidro Lapeña and then current chief Rey Leonado Guerrero.

The president said he would not wait for Congress to pass a law eliminating transactions with brokers.

“There are things which I have to do that Congress cannot tinker with. Those are one of them because that is to save the country from perdition,” he said.

Duterte, however, said this was just his proposal and urged BOC employees to ignore” brokers they dealt with before.

“You ignore the brokers. You go to a broker, I will not deal with you,” he said.

Following Duterte’s proposal, BOC executives met on Wednesday to discuss the drafting of a new system which will eliminate the use of brokers in the processing of shipments in the port area.

“We have been putting up (a system) right now and the initiatives along this line. We hope that it will lessen the transaction that is being done specifically that with the brokers,” said Bien Datuin of BOC Public Information and Assistance Division (PIAD). RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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