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Mindanao execs tagged in smuggling activities

Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) - January 19, 2015 - 12:00am

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Several elective officials in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are reportedly involved in smuggling activities in the region, an official of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said over the weekend.

BOC deputy commissioner for intelligence Jessie Dellosa said the initial results of an investigation into the disappearance of 845 sacks of smuggled sugar here indicate collusion among the personnel of the BOC district office.

The missing shipment was part of the 1,170 sacks seized by the police and the Philippine Coast Guard personnel on Jan. 6.

Only 325 sacks remain at the BOC warehouse at the port of Zamboanga.

The shipment was reported missing after it was transferred from a motor vessel to a warehouse located some 120 meters away from the BOC district office.

Dellosa said some local officials are believed to be involved in smuggling activities in Mindanao.

“That’s what we are investigating. We have names of the local officials involved,” Dellosa said. He refused to identify the officials pending results of the investigation.

Dellosa said they formed Task Group ZamBaSulTa to look into the report.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar earlier urged Dellosa and the BOC to identify the smugglers and file charges against them.

Salazar said some smugglers drop her name in order to slip past security and customs personnel.

“I will not tolerate the use of my name for smuggling activities. I will not tolerate smuggling and all other illegal activities in Zamboanga City,” Salazar said in a statement.

BASILAN BUREAU OF CUSTOMS DELLOSA ISABELLE CLIMACO-SALAZAR JESSIE DELLOSA MAYOR MA PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD SALAZAR SULU AND TAWI-TAWI TASK GROUP ZAMBOANGA CITY
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