PHL Customs to acquire seacrafts

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) is acquiring several brand new seacrafts as part of its intensified campaign against rice smuggling in the country’s territorial waters.

Commissioner Isidro Lapeña said the move seeks to intensify efforts against the illegal activity on the premise that there may be attempts to smuggle rice because of the shortage in its supply.

“That is the assumption. That is why we have to intensify our efforts against it,” he added.

With this, the BOC chief said that they are in the process of procuring marine vessels proposed in their 2017 budget.

“We are now in the process of procurement. In fact there are three seacrafts that are coming and there are additional 10-20 speedboats, 40-footer or 45-footer. Middle of the year is our target procurement,” Lapeña said in a statement Monday.

“The three 74-footer watercraft would be initially operated by Philippine Coast Guard and our people in training until such time that our people would be experts already in operating the sea craft,” he added.

Over the weekend, the Naval Forces Western Mindanao seized a foreign cargo vessel carrying 1,359 metric tons of smuggled rice in Zamboanga Sibugay.

Aside from rice smuggling, there were reports of other forms of illegal importation in the high seas such as oil and illegal drugs. PNA