SBMA chair warns smugglers: ‘Heads will roll’

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Subic Bay Metropolitan (SBMA) Chairman Martin Diño warned crooked businessmen not to use the Subic Bay Freeport for their smuggling operation, adding that the Subic agency will not spare anyone in its campaign against corruption.

Diño issued the warning as he announced the seizure of a 10-wheeler truck (RNK 394) loaded with 36 units of used industrial sewing machine and other office equipment with an estimated total value of P2.65 million.

The cargo was declared as assorted scrap materials from the Subic Bay Apparel Corp., a company which has closed at the Naval Magazine area here. The cargo was declared as worth only P10,000.

Diño said that SBMA law enforcers and personnel of the Bureau of Customs (Port of Subic) stopped the cargo truck last Friday, May 19, after its driver Roel Taloban, 24, of New Cabalan, Olongapo City, failed to show a clearance from the Bureau of Customs (BoC).

Diño added that because of the incident, BoC CIIS Lt. Gino Minguilian asked Subic authorities to review the documents and CCTV footages of haulers exiting the Freeport gate at Tipo Road.

From these it was found that on May 11, 12 and 15, five other hauling trucks loaded with 109 heavy duty sewing machines, computers, office chairs, 300 rolls of fabric and other materials, have passed th​rough Tipo Road. The cargoes were reportedly transported to the San Simon Industrial Park in Pampanga.

“We will know who were involved in this, where it passed, or whether this was happening regularly,” Diño also said. “This time we are sending a clear signal to all businessmen, as well as our people at the gate, that the SBMA is serious in stopping smuggling here.”

The SBMA official further said that he is consulting now with the agency lawyers to find ways on how to run after smugglers.

He also refused to name the SBMA employees who might be involved in the sewing machine case to give them the “benefit of the doubt” and the opportunity to explain how the cargoes exited the Freeport without proper clearances.

“But definitely, like what we are doing at the VACC (Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption), there will be heads rolling here,” he assured the media.

Meanwhile, Minguilian said that he has already relieved BoCpersonnel who ​were assigned​ in Tipo​ at the time when the trucks in question passed the Freeport gate. – MHIKE R. CIGARAL