Beng tackles rice smuggling PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 29 August 2013 11:48

Mayor Beng Climaco on Tuesday convened a special meeting of all agencies involved in the campaign against smuggling of rice and other contraband items in view of persistent reports about the illegal entry of imported rice in the city.

Present during the meeting were City Police OIC Director Col. Jose Chiquito Malayo, OIC Customs Collector Darwina Schuck, National Food Authority Provincial Manager Gaudencio Nuega, Jr., City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat, Department of Trade and Industry City Director Engr. Rolando Acuña, Poch Bucoy of hte Department of Agriculture, Joan Fatima Natividad of the Customs Police, Atty. Edward Fronda of the City Legal Office and representatives from other agencies.

Police authorities have reported the confiscation of at least 13,913 sacks of alleged smuggled rice during 8 operations conducted starting early July. These items however have all been released after the Bureau of Customs declared that the items are properly documented specifically the payment of tax duties at the sub-ports where they come from.

Climaco cited the urgent need for a fusion of all apprehending agencies to ensure that efforts of law enforcement authorities will not be useless and futile.

She said reports of rampant rice smuggling activities persist and that the illegal entry of these imported rice affect the livelihood of local farmers and consequently the economy. “The entry of cheap imported rice affects our farmers. We have to get to the bottom of this [problem]”.

The operations being done by the police in cooperation with the Task Force Zamboanga, Customs Police and other agencies are results of reports or information relayed by reliable sources.

The mayor lamented that the main task of the police and other law enforcement authorities is to secure and safeguard the residents, however, they have to respond to reports of alleged rice smuggling and other illegal activities. “Zamboanga’s crime rate is a problem. Our main task is securing each and every family, this [operations against rice smuggling] is not the priority of the police but     the Bureau of Customs has to prove its worth in a nation that is so affected by all these problems”.

She instructed the Bureau of Customs to formally submit procedures in the importation as well as transport of rice and other items based on the Customs and Tariff laws from other areas to Zamboanga City.  In the same manner, she tasked the NFA and the Bureau of Customs to sit down with the police, Coast Guard, Navy and all other agencies concerned to collaborate efforts in the conduct of operations against smuggling of rice and other items.

Another meeting is set soon to finalize mechanisms in the conduct of such operations. — Sheila Covarrubias