Mayor Beng Climaco has called on the Maritime Group of the Philippine National Police here to help in the government’s relentless war on smuggling activities in Zamboanga.
Climaco issued the call during the press briefing last Monday, two days after combined forces (minus the Maritime police) apprehended some P3.6 million worth of smuggled rice unloaded at a private wharf just a stone’s throw away from the Maritime police post in Baliwasan.
The mayor was wondering why the agency failed to monitor, let alone apprehend, the smuggled rice unloaded at Taha Wharf when both are barely 12 inches apart.
“I have called the attention of the agency and I sent a text message to PNP Chief Albayalde regarding the incident,” Climaco said, believing that the Maritime police play a vital role in the fight against smuggling.
She said the police, the military, the Coast Guard and even the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have already combined their efforts to curb smuggling, yet the Maritime police have yet to do something in this regard.
Nonetheless, Climaco, who chairs the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in Zamboanga Peninsula region, said the Maritime police head has been invited to the upcoming RPOC meeting on Nov. 9 to clarify certain issues regarding smuggling.
To recall, joint elements from the Philippine Coast Guard, PNP and Task Force Zamboanga apprehended two closed wing vans loaded with more or less 1,200 sacks of smuggled rice from Sabah, Malaysia worth P3.6 million at R.T. Lim Boulevard, this city, last Saturday, Nov. 3.
The apprehension came after an information was received by the Coast Guard from the 11th Infantry Battalion, Task Force Zamboanga that there was loading of smuggled rice to unknown van.
The team immediately conducted a maritime patrol at Taha Wharf, Baliwasan Seaside in Zamboanga but yielded negative result.
At around 11:40 p.m. same day, the team sighted and apprehended two closed wing vans with plate number KVY-2980 driven by Roberto Doldoa Y Budlong and with temporary plate number 030110 driven by Mr. Raymond Requinto y Baladin at RT Lim Boulevard near Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College.
Subsequently, the apprehended drivers and trucks with cargoes of rice were turned over to the Bureau of Customs in Zamboanga for proper disposition.-(Vic Larato)