Beng condemns extensive smuggling of Thai Sugar PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 11:18

By VIC LARATO

Mayor Beng Climaco on Monday deplored what she termed as rampant smuggling here of domestic sugar from Thailand, and she challenged Bureau of Customs and all law enforcement agencies in the city to put a stop to smuggling activities and run after the smugglers once and for all.

“If this will not be stopped, then our farmers, who are already suffering from the effects of El Niño, will further lose their livelihood, especially the local sugar farmers,” Climaco said during her weekly media briefing in City Hall.

“What is very alarming,” she warned, “the smuggled sugar is used only for domestic consumption of the Thais,” therefore not for commercial use outside of Thailand.

She further bewailed that the Thai sugar is sold in the local market at P1,300 to P1,500 per 25-kilo sack against the locally produced sugar at P2,600 per 25-klo sack, thus affecting the local sugar industry.

Climaco said Customs Deputy Commissioner Jessie Dellosa frequently come to Zamboanga to personally supervise the campaign against sugar smuggling.

According to her, even the members of the so-called “sugar committee,” who came to the city as consultants of the Bureau of Customs in its anti-sugar smuggling drive, were surprised to know  that Thai’s domestic sugar is being smuggled to the Philippines through Zamboanga City as port of entry.

“They suspected that there must have been tampering with in Thailand as well, because the kind of sugar brought in is strictly used for domestic consumption in Thailand yet it has reached Zamboanga,” the mayor said.

Climaco said she has assured the BoC that city government together with the local police and military authorities here is supportive of any and all efforts to curb smuggling activities in this part of the country.

“But, they must be able to ensure also that we will be able to really run after all of these smugglers,” she added.

As this developed, the chief executive has mobilized the “Task Force Pantalan” in the campaign against smuggling of rice, sugar and other goods from the neighboring countries to this city.

City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat said “TF Pantalan” is presently conducting an inventory of all sea ports, finger wharves and mini-wharves on the coastlines of Zamboanga, both in the east and west coasts, where smuggled goods are being unloaded clandestinely.

Palacat said the group will meet again next week to discuss the inventory report. — Vic Larato