December 31, 2007

Imee urges customs execs to probe entry of contraband

WITH the proliferation of alleged smuggled products including vegetables, sugar and rice, as well as the recently discovered imported cigarettes in the local market, Rep. Imee R. Marcos (2nd district, Ilocos Norte) has urged officials of the Bureau of Customs to conduct a fact-finding investigation in the soonest possible time.

In an interview with the lady solon, she revealed that her office has already ordered the investigation of nighttime visitors at the Currimao International Seaport, where smuggled items are allegedly being unloaded during late evenings as she also reported this to the Bureau of Customs national office.

On December 20, local residents of Barangay La Paz, Laoag City as well as those in some areas of Currimao found scattered imported cigarettes along their respective shorelines. The said cigarettes, which had Chinese markings, had been believed to be contrabands by some probers.

As these imported items are visibly displayed in the open market, Marcos said this brings a great threat to local manufacturers particularly in this time of economic crisis where locally manufactured tobaccos’ consumers demand had been markedly lower compared to the imported ones.

“Itong pagpasok ng hot cigarettes na sinasabing nagkalat daw sa mga tindahan ay talaga namang hindi katanggap-tanggap lalo na sa mga panahong ito ng krisis. Matagal ko ng ini-report ito sa Bureau of Customs. Si Commissioner Morales, kung wala rin lang magawa tungkol dito e sa palagay ko kailangan na ng revamp diyan sa Customs,” Marcos said.

The lady lawmaker added that voluminous items of imported rice, sugar, vegetables and hot port entered the country but the BOC seems unable to do anything to prevent further entry of these commodities.

If ever smuggled items are being unloaded at the Currimao port, Marcos said the concerned government authorities should investigate this as she stressed that the entry of smuggled items in the local market kills the livelihood of local producers here.

Leilanie G. Adriano

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