Sun.Star Pampanga

Customs denies oil smuggling in Bataan

- BY FERGIE H. FABIAN Sun.Star Staff Reporter

MARIVELES, Bataan– Customs Port Collector Elvira Cruz yesterday denied the accusation­s that oil is being smuggled in the Port of Lamao in Limay Bataan.

Challengin­g her critics to prove the allegation­s, Cruz said “I want people who are alleging smuggling to be specific because what they can only say is there is smuggling here. If there is smuggling in Limay, it is tantamount to say Petron is doing that, so let Ramon Ang (Petrons chairman and CEO) answer that, not us.”

According to Cruz, Pilipinas Shell came up with a story about oil smuggling in Subic and Bataan.

Cruz also challenged Edgar Chua, president of the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, to come up with specifics, saying “Simply because their sales went down, they came up with the smuggling story. It is not the Customs’ fault. Why blame us?”

“Any one accusing us of smuggling should come tell us kung ano ginagawa para mag- smuggle. Baka mayroong nakikita ang Shell na hindi namin nakikita, para matulungan kami,” she added.

Cruz reiterated that the Port of Lamao only serves as a “possible exit point” and not an “entry point” of smuggling. The port is the only importer of oil in Limay like gas, crude oil, mogas, ethanol and asphalt.

She also said that one of her commission­ers will ask Shell for specifics, because they are doing their best to curb smuggling.

Cruz explained the antismuggl­ing procedures importers entering the Port of Lamao have to go through includes the Load Port Survey, which is accredited by the Bureau of Customs and internatio­nal authoritie­s.

“Kapag dumating ang barko, sa gitna ng dagat namin bino-board- ingan, hindi sa gilid. Bago magdock sa tabi, na- boardingan na ng mga tao namin at na-check na ng husto,” she said.

She disclosed that a continuous briefing of port personnel is being done to make them understand the flow of their work more.

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