Solon questions removal of x-ray in Mindanao customs
A SOLON from Mindanao yesterday called for the filing of criminal and administrative charges against an official of the Bureau of Customs who was allegedly responsible for the removal of the Xray mobile scanning unit at the Customs Clearance Area of Mindanao International Container Terminal Services Inc. at the Phividec Industrial Estate complex in Misamis Oriental.
PBA Rep. Jericho Nograles said the removal of the X-ray unit could have allowed the smuggling of illegal drugs, weapons, and other contraband at the MICTSI through socalled “swinging operations”.
Nograles was referring to Director Eduardo Chico of the Ports Oper- ations Service, Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group as the one allegedly behind the modus.
He said Customs chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero should pursue charges against Chico who allegedly revoked Administrative Order 296 issued by f o rmer President Ramos in 1996 that established the Customs Clear- ance Area in Special Economic Freeport Zones.
“How can a mere verbal order of a Director in Customs revoked an Administrative Order of the President of the Republic of the Philippines?” asked Nograles.
Nograles claimed Chico has violated Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
From September to December, Nograles said containers were rushed out of the port due to Chico’s “verbal order”.
“Swinging" is a modus being used by smugglers where containers are sneaked out of the port to be unloaded in nearby warehouses. The same containers are then brought back to the Port for dummy inspection and documentation. — Leifbilly Begas