By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA – An inspection by authorities yielded PHP54 million worth of smuggled diesel fuel inside a vessel at the subport of Sual, Pangasinan, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) reported on Friday.
In a statement, the bureau said the joint operation led by its Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) seized an estimated 1,350 kilolitres of smuggled diesel fuel from 12 compartments of the vessel MV Veronica-1 on May 4.
Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said the inspection was conducted after the issuance of a Pre-Lodgement Control Order on May 3 against the vessel suspected to contain smuggled fuel.
Samples taken from the 12 compartments for fuel testing were marked “failed” on both the first and second tests using a mobile fuel analyzer.
A “failed” result indicates the absence of a chemical marker injected into fuel products, signifying the payment of correct import duties and taxes.
Rubio commended the Port of San Fernando and the joint task force for “securing our borders and protecting our economy from the adverse effects of smuggling.”
The Port of San Fernando ordered the immediate seizure of the smuggled diesel and the carrying vessel in compliance with Customs laws, rules, and regulations.
On the other hand, CIIS director Verne Enciso underscored the importance of inter-agency coordination that would lead to more successful operations, noting that smuggling groups have become more audacious in their activities.
The operation was also conducted by the BOC’s Enforcement and Security Service and the Port Operations Division of the Subport of Sual, together with the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Philippine National Police Maritime Group, and local police.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group Juvymax Uy highlighted how the swift action of their intelligence agents secured the necessary information to apprehend the vessel and seize the smuggled diesel.
“As long as our Customs agents and other agencies continue to be relentless, our pursuit of smuggling activities and the people behind them would succeed,” Uy said. (PNA)