GOVERNMENT security forces intercepted on Thursday, March 3, an estimated P12.6-million worth of shipment of smuggled sugar off Zamboanga City.
Special Agent Orlando Sangid, local customs police chief, said Friday that the troops were on patrol when they spotted a wooden-hulled vessel sailing toward the coast of Recodo village.
Sangid said the troops found the vessel, M/L Nurhuda, loaded with at least 7,000 sacks of imported sugar of 50 kilos each with no pertinent documents.
The sugar was believed to have been produced in Thailand based on the sacks’ markings.
Sangid said the shipment of the smuggled sugar came from Sandakan, Sabah, based on the last port of call of M/L Nurhuda. The vessel has 13 crewmen aboard.
The vessel and its cargoes were turned over to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for appropriate action.
The apprehension came three days after Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar challenged the customs and all law enforcement agencies to put a stop to smuggling activities and run after the smugglers once and for all.
Salazar has deplored the rampant smuggling of domestic sugar from Thailand into the city.
She said the local sugar farmers, who are already suffering from the effects of El Niño, will further lose their livelihood if smuggling of sugar will not be stopped.
The mayor bewailed the local industry is greatly affected since Thai sugar is sold in the local market at P1,300 to P1,500 per 25-kilo sack against the locally produced sugar at P2,600 per 25-kilo sack.