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P700-million smuggled fuel seized by Customs

The Bureau of Customs (BoC) scored its first big break against oil smuggling in only six months on the Duterte watch with the seizure of two oil vessels carrying a combined 45,000 metric tons (MT) of smuggled fuel worth P700 million in the port of Limay in Bataan.

Newly appointed Deputy Customs Commissioner Edward James Dy Buco said the M/T Alpine Magnolia and the M/T Malolos, which were carrying the smuggled fuel, were also seized by the customs agents. The two vessels have a combined estimated value of P300 million.

Dy Buco said the BoC caught its big haul when Limay Acting District Collector Julius Premediles received information from a reliable informant about the arrival of the M/T Alpine Magnolia and the possibility that the ship could be carrying smuggled fuel.

“The vessels were included in the apprehension because they were obviously used in the commission of smuggling,” Dy Buco said.

The apprehended cargo was consigned to S.L. Harbor Bulk Terminal Corp., said Dy Buco, adding that the BoC is now readying charges against this Bataan-based company.

Meantime, the BoC recently announced that it had exceeded its collection target of P36.45 billion by 12 percent in November, as revenues already reached P40.239 billion. This amount is 27 percent higher than actual collections of P29.061 billion in the same period.