ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/26 July) – Police forces seized dawn Thursday a shipment of 230 sacks of smuggled rice in this city, reports said.
This came about a day after Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has dared the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to prevent the entry of smuggled rice in this city, stressing it kills the lifeblood of the local farmers.
Chief Insp. Elmer Acuña, Police Station 6 commander, said the smuggled rice shipment was intercepted at a mini-wharf in Barangay Arena Blanco, this city, around 3 a.m. Thursday.
Acuña said the 230 sacks of rice of 25 kilos each were already loaded into a cargo truck driven by Jovito Maravilla when policemen intercepted the shipment.
Investigation showed the rice is owned by Alonto Sawaki of Barangay Guiwan here and were shipped by Rawda Chiong aboard M/V Rawda from Jolo, Sulu, Acuña said.
The cargo truck and its cargo are temporary being held at the Community Police Action Center (COMPAC) in Barangay Talon-Talon for proper turn over to the BoC.
Salazar, in her call to the BoC, has likened the rice smugglers to farm pests, citing “they are eating up the city’s economy.”
“This is not good because they (smugglers) do not pay the necessary taxes to the government. And we are calling the attention of Customs to prevent the entry of smuggled rice or collect taxes from the smugglers,” Salazar said.