SBMA, Customs stop P2.65M smuggle attempt

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SUBIC BAY FREEPORT: The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC)–Subic on Tuesday announced they foiled an attempt to smuggle P2.65 million worth of industrial sewing machines and other equipment declared as scrap materials.

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SBMA Chairman Martin Diño, said Skyscraper Trading attempted to exit the Tipo Gate of the Freeport Zone with its cargo declared as assorted scrap materials worth P10,000 that it has taken from the Subic Bay Apparel Corp. located inside the Naval Magazine Area.

However, upon inspection, the truck yielded 36 units of industrial sewing machines and other industrial items.

Documents obtained by The Manila Times show that Subic Bay Apparel sold to a certain Ronaldo Fernando the machineries, fabrics, furniture, equipment, accessories and other items for P2.65 million. These were supposed to be taken from the company premises on May 9.

Diño showed media a gate pass used by the hauler; the pass was signed and approved by several SBMA departments which approved the cargo declared as assorted scrap material.

The SBMA chairman said an investigation on the possible involvement of SBMA department heads and employees is ongoing and said that heads may roll.

Meanhile, Subic Customs officer, Lt. Gino Manguillian, said that a local BoC personnel has been relieved in connection with a previous foiled smuggling attempt while their office is conducting its own investigation.

A report from the SBMA security department revealed that aside from the May 19 smuggling attempt, a forwarding truck containing 35 units of sewing machines, 11 sewing motors and 17 pieces of office chairs, also exited Tipo Gate on May 11.

On May 12, two forwarding trucks loaded with 50 units of sewing machines and assorted computers and on May 15, two more forwarding trucks loaded with one algotel, four units of steel cabinets, 24 sewing machines and 300 rolls of fabric scraps also exited Tipo Gate.

According to SBMA, the items were all transported to San Simon Industrial Park in Pampanga and placed in a secured building.

Both SBMA and Subic Customs are checking if taxes for the items were correctly paid.

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