THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) yesterday announced the “seizure” of four vessels in Aparri, Cagayan province allegedly smuggled into the country and presently being used in the “illegal quarrying” of magnetic black sand along the Cagayan River.
In a statement, Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon said he issued a mission order to the bureau’s ‘Special Studies and Project Development Committee (SSPDC) to track and confiscate the vessels after its owners, whom he did not identify, allegedly did not pay any import duties and taxes to the government.
Faeldon said “earlier reports” disclosed that foreign vessels have allegedly been smuggled into the country and are operating in Aparri, a riverside municipality in Cagayan.
First to be located, with the help of local village officials last April 8, was the MV Nova 1, which was found docked at the Parradun Sur Quarry Site in Aparri.
Three other vessels, the MV Vela 1, MV Vela 3 and the Monte Cristo II, also allegedly being used in the illegal quarrying of magnetic black sand were found at the Hua Xia/Pine Sand compound in Barangay Tallungan, also in Aparri.
All four vessels have an estimated value of P200 million.
“This latest seizure only points to the unyielding efforts of the BoC to put a stop to smuggling and other illicit trade activities, whether by land or sea,” said Faeldon.
In a separate statement, the customs chief also lauded the bureau’s various collection districts for their efforts to shore up their revenue collection efforts resulting to the agency overshooting its collection target in March by some 3 percent.
The bureau last month collected a total of P37.654 billion in duties and other taxes, which is P1.082 billion higher than its collection target of P36.572 billion.