THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has turned over the more than P100 million worth of smuggled rice it seized on Sunday, January 7, in the Sibuguey Bay of the Moro Gulf.

Captain Ronnie Gil Gavan, PCG-Southwestern Mindanao District commander, turned over the confiscated rice to Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Isidro Lapeña in a ceremony held Wednesday, January 10, at the port of Zamboanga.

The turnover of the confiscated rice was witnessed by other top officials of the PCG and BOC.

READ: Coastguard intercepts P125-M ‘smuggled’ rice

The BRP-Tubbataha (MRRV-4401) was conducting maritime security patrol when it intercepted M/V J-Phia, a cargo vessel, loaded with some 60,000 sacks of smuggled rice of 50 kilos each on Sunday 25 nautical miles southwest of Olutanga island.

The BRP-Tubbataha escorted the J-Phia to the local port where it remains anchored including its cargo.

Lapeña said they will intensify the campaign in bid to eliminate, if not lessen, smuggling activities in this part of the country.

Lapeña said there is a need to strengthen the anti-smuggling campaign to protect legitimate businesses that pays the correct taxes, which is the bloodline of the country.

He said investigation is ongoing to determine ownership of the seized smuggled rice shipment. (SunStar Philippines)