P20M worth of rice, logs seized in Zambo City Print
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 11:33

Naval authorities and Customs police have seized more than P20 million worth of rice and logs in Zamboanga City, officials said Tuesday.

Rear Admiral Reynaldo Yoma, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, said they intercepted on Monday four boats - M/L Ayang, DCM Trader, M/L Kimber B and M/L Wish Me Luck - loaded with 16,000 bags of rice and 4,500 pieces of Falcataria logs.

“All apprehended watercraft and their cargoes were properly turned-over to the Bureau of Customs in Zamboanga City for proper documentation and filing of appropriate charges,” Yoma said.

He said the navy’s intensified patrol is part of its assistance to the Bureau of Customs in curbing smuggling in Zamboanga City and also to secure the coastal areas against lawless elements.

Just recently, Customs Commissioner John Sevilla visited Zamboanga City and Sulu province where he met with local rice traders and government officials.

In Zamboanga City, Sevilla vowed to address reports of rampant smuggling activities after the local city council passed a resolution asking President Benigno Aquino to order the probe in the unabated rice smuggling that is hurting the legitimate dealers.

Most of the rice shipments were smuggled to Tawi-Tawi province from Malaysia by boats by unscrupulous traders and then transported to Sulu and Zamboanga City and other parts of western Mindanao where they are sold as low as P700 a bag of 25 kilos compared to P1,200 for local rice.

Sevilla also held a meeting with Sulu Governor Totoh Tan at the Provincial Capitol where the Customs official briefed the young politician about the agency’s campaign against illegal rice trading.

Sevilla was accompanied by his deputies Jessie Dellosa, Ariel Nepomuceno and Customs Collector Migelfio Saquisame.  Tan has pledged his full support various programs of the Bureau of Customs and the government’s campaign against smuggling activities in the province. — Franzie Sali and Al Jacinto