9 ‘hot’ SUVs in bodega-A A +A
Sunday, August 19, 2012
THE Korean businessman needs to explain how come nine SUVs, believed to be smuggled, ended up inside a bodega he reportedly owns at the North Reclamation Area. The vehicles did not go through the usual process at the Bureau of Customs at the Cebu port. In particular, the container vans that brought the vehicles were not presented for scanning nor inspected by other customs agencies.
In my column in Superbalita, I shared two possibilities discussed in the Customs grapevine. Either the vehicles were smuggled through Mindanao ports or it was a result of a so-called “swing operation.”
To recall, the entry of smuggled vehicles had become normal during the Arroyo and Estrada administration when there was a go-signal supposedly from the highest echelons of government.
During P-Noy’s watch, however, smuggling had become some kind of a cat-and-mouse game when operators decide to bring in their stocks with only a few government men in cahoots.
Because Cebu officials generally won’t play ball with the smugglers, many shipment arrive in either the ports of Davao and Cagayan de Oro. And the smugglers would ship these to Cebu via interisland vessels.
However, the SUV case tells me “swing operations” had returned to Cebu. This means the smuggled goods were unloaded at the Cebu International Port (CIP). But instead of undergoing the normal Customs process, the shipments were immediately taken out through the gates with only a handful of low level (hence cheap) port people directly involved.
I won’t believe this was the first time because one wharf customs official was able to sniff something and trace it to the warehouse. This usually happens during the second or third shipments. Instead of reporting the swing operation, however, I heard that this wharf official tried to shake down the Korean early last week.
Months ago, I remembered one official telling me that the customs terrain during the Aquino era means “pagalingan” because gone were the days when one go-signal from Malacañang would make everybody toe the line.
Today, the smugglers have gone underground. Only a few know something is happening. Enforcement agencies, including members of media, should be super good in digging.
In this SUV case, I gathered that, by Wednesday noon, vigilant journalists already got wind of so-called negotiations and scuttled it.
Sen. Tito Sotto should fire his ghostwriter for merely copy-pasting passages from blogs without proper attribution. Instead of strengthening his cause against the Reproductive Health bill, his speech only called attention to possible plagiarism.
While several youth leaders find the RH bill a positive move when seen from a health point of view, they are wary about the population issue being injected into the debates.
They contend that our country’s social problems stemmed from the unequal distribution of wealth that has not been addressed adequately since the Spanish period when we were only a few millions.
The RH debate is not only raging at the halls of Congress, barber shops, and pulpits. It is also generating heated debates online as shown by the several threads on the controversy in the Facebook group “Maghisgot Kitag Politika, Bay.” Padaplin ang lalis bahin sa partisan politics.
No city in Cebu has made it to the top 10 cities list of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG). Is it because the cities in Cebu deteriorated, while the others improved considerably?
I have not been to San Juan—number one for 2011 in the DILG list—lately so I cannot compare it with Cebu.
But Puerto Princesa is definitely better in environmental protection. Cebu City has barangays like Quiot that carry out solid waste disposal projects without feasibility studies, while officials cannot present valid supporting documents.
I saw better roads in Ilo-ilo. Valenzuela Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian had better ICT-based tax collection initiatives.
In Cebu City, the computer systems are better suited for election purposes.
Cebu officials used to describe Cebu’s deteriorating performance in the DILG lists as wake up calls. Lisod pukawon ang nagmata apan nagpatulogtulog lang.
Miss Philippines Quenerich Rehman only reached the 15 semi-finalists in the Miss World 2012 won by Miss China.
Let us all pray for Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and his two pilots who are still missing (as of this writing) off Masbate after a plane he was on crashed last Saturday.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 20, 2012.