OFFICIALS of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of the Port of Davao have promised to attend the second hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Peace and Public Safety.
This after the BOC officials snubbed the Council’s first hearing last week regarding the inquiry on the discovery of about 16 kilos of high grade cocaine inside three “empty” container vans.
Police found the illegal drugs in the container yard of Maersk Shipping Lines in Sasa last December 9, 2009.
Committee chair Nilo Abellera said BOC District Collector Anju Nerio Castigador and the Customs official vowed to attend the City Council’s future hearings.
The Davao City Council earlier expressed grave disappointment after three BOC officials invited to Friday’s hearing snubbed their invitation.
Four other councilors said they will not allow the BOC to snub the City Government on matters concerning the safety and security of the people of Davao.
"It is informed that when the controversial cocaine was discovered at the reefer vans in Maersk Line Container Yard and became a national issue, we have been regularly updating the Commissioner of Customs as a matter of protocol and for our guidance," Castigador said in his letter to the City Council dated February 11.
Castigador added that: "While the Port of Davao has the highest esteem for the city council and to its distinguished members, we would nonetheless defer our action on what would be the instruction of the Commissioner of Customs and/or the policy guidelines that will be issued on the matter."
Abellera, however, warned the BOC officials that if they continue to snub its invitation, the City Council will also make its own move. BOC officials invited to the hearing were former district collector Ronnie Silvestre, Castigador, and BOC Davao head of x-ray Jim Regis.
Sasa police Chief Superintendent Alden Delvo told the committee that he personally saw how the x-ray machine detected the contraband placed inside the reefer machine.
He said no less than the BOC showed to him how effective the x-ray machine is in detecting contrabands.
Delvo said the BOC however failed to implement the mandatory x-ray on empty container vans due to high cost on the part of the shipping companies.
"The BOC procedure is very faulty," Delvo opined.
The next hearing for the inquiry on the illegal drugs found is still mulled, Abellera said.