AMID rising pump prices, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) announced that officials at the Port of Zamboanga seized last September 9 a vessel loaded with alleged smuggled fuel products worth P5.8 million at a town in Zamboanga City, about 1,329 kilometers south of the capital.
The statement from the BOC read that the vessel, marked as M/L Zshahuny II, was seized while unloading fuel at Barangay Cawit, Zamboanga City. The BOC said the crew failed to present documents to prove the lawful importation of the fuel.
The BOC statement added that its operation was based on an intelligence report. It said the vessel departed from Taganak Island, Tawi-Tawi, and arrived at Zamboanga City. Where the vessel got the fuel was not explained in the BOC statement.
According to the BOC, the vessel, which has an estimated value of P3 million, carried 89,600 liters of diesel fuel.
The captain and crew of M/L Zshahuny II and other facilitators of the fuel smuggling have been “profiled for the filing of appropriate charges,” the BOC statement read.
The vessel and its cargo are now under the custody of the BOC for the conduct of seizure and forfeiture proceedings for violating Sections 1113 (f), (g) and (l) (1) of the CMTA, the agency added.
“This is in relation to Sections 107 (Value-added Tax on Importation of Goods), 148 (Excise Tax on Manufactured Oils and Other Fuels) and 148-A (Mandatory Marking of All Petroleum Products) of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), as amended.”
District Collector Arthur G. Sevilla Jr. was quoted in the statement as saying the agency “will continue to be relentless in preventing and apprehending smuggling activities in the region.”
The BOC said the operation involved personnel from several law enforcement agencies including the Philippine Coast Guard.