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Bataan port a haven for drug, oil smugglers?


By Mar T. Supnad


PORT OF LAMAO, Bataan – This International sea port in Bataan is buzzing with talks that a number of international oil tankers and drug couriers who are in cahoots with a top Customs official are using the port for illegal activities.
In fact, more than a year ago, the Bureau of Customs seized P700 million worth of smuggled fuel from two tankers in this port, the Department of Finance said, raising suspicion that the smugglers are conniving with a top BOC official here but their illegal shipments got leaked.
News report said M/T Alpine Magnolia and M/T Malolos were intercepted following a tip from an informant.
Aside from the petroleum products being discharged here without paying taxes, newsmen gathered that this port is also being utilized secretly for illegal drugs.
Gen. Rolando Asuncion (retired), regional chief of the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency had earlier said they are monitoring illegal activities some seaports in the region.
The illegal discharge of fuel is locally called here (patulo) wherein the fuel owners will unload the diesel into a waiting watercraft in full view of a top Customs official.
Efforts were made to get the side of local Customs officers but were eventually turned down.
The Department of Finance said rampant oil smuggling causes the government to lose billions of pesos as more than a third of the oil supply into the country is being smuggled.