Customs Deputy Commissioner Reynaldo Nicolas said on Tuesday that he is convinced that oil smuggling is taking place in provincial ports nearby.
Nicolas, who took over the deputy commissionership for intelligence and enforcement group, pledged to prove that oil smuggling does exist in various ports, particularly in Bataan, Mariveles and Batangas.
“My priority is to investigate reports of oil smuggling in our nearby provincial ports,” Nicolas told reporters on his first day in office.
He stressed that the practice costs the government around P5 billion in lost income annually.
Customs Commissioner George Jereos had said the bureau does not have evidence of oil smuggling.
Nicolas said, however, that a big-time syndicate could be behind the smuggling, but declined to give specifics, explaining, “they are well-entrenched.”
The alleged oil smuggling was exposed by the businessman-industrialist Raul Concepcion, who proposed that oil firms be required to give reports to a body under the customs bureau.
–William B. Depasupil