Skip to main content

Bohol Smuggling Scandal

A Bohol unit of the Philippine Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) is under fire after it conducted a two-day operations against local businessmen resulting in arbitrary interceptions of goods and commodities getting out of the city insular wharf.  

Crying foul against the unnecessary searches were the Provincial Development Council and the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry which took the cudgels for the local businessmen who felt harassed by the PASG-Bohol. 

But Rommel Manhilot a.k.a as Rommel Montano, an actor and younger brother of gubernatorial candidate Cesar Montano who claims to be the director of the local PASG unit, said that there was nothing irregular in their operations.  The elder Montano is also an actor and a multi-awarded at that. 

On December 9-10, Montano's group made up of 10 men, mounted a checkpoint at the city pier to inspect the import documents of Bohol-bound cargoes.  

Just like Montano, its team leader is another Baclayon native identified as Greg Quinal. 

According to Montano, if there's anybody who's more careful of not doing any unlawful act, it would be him knowing the impact it will bear on the candidacy of his brother. 

However, the Baclayon native said he cannot reneged on his mandate to implement the intent of Executive Order No. 624. The executive fiat created the PASG to apprehend, seize, investigate and prosecute acts involving smuggling, unlawful importation and other similar violations, and providing measures to curtail smuggling and expedite proceedings. 

Montano said contrary to some allegations, his team was maintaining utmost courtesy in making inspections of import documents that passed through the city pier.

The PASG official said his attention was called by Malacanang that Bohol ports including the City Tagbilaran was used as transshipment point of illegal drugs and firearms. 

Asked what was the reaction of his brother-politician, after his name was graded in the PASG controversy Montano quoted his sibling as saying "for as long as you're doing your job, it's okay with me". 

PDC COMPLAINT

The PDC met on December 10 at the Bohol Tropics Resort Club and presided over by Gov. Erico Aumentado to tackle the PASG issue.

After getting hold of the BCCI complaint, the PDC swung into action to inquire into the legality of the PASG operations.

The two bodies also questioned Montano's authority for directing such arbitrary interception, and furthermore, vehemently protested his questionable procedures, which are inimical to the economic development of the entire province;

The so-called arbitrary interception was made on delivery trucks and other vehicles carrying Christmas goods and other commodities in the port of Tagbilaran city and in other ports throughout the province of Bohol by the PASG unit.

The controversial PASG activities came at a time when Trade Sec. Peter Favila was in town. Without missing a beat, the two bodies appealed to the trade secretary for expeditious action.

The PDC and BCCI also sought the assistance of Department of Finance Secretary Gary Teves, Bureau of Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales, and PASG head, Undersecretary Antonio Villar Jr. to look into their complaints in relation to the activities of the anti-smuggling group in Bohol.i

Asked if Montano was a duly authorized PASG agent, he said he has a mission order to authenticate his appointment as the body's director for Bohol.

Montano showed up to the Post offices  yesterday after he was tipped off that his team's conduct at the city pier was subjected to a thorough inquiry by the city's business sector.

According to the PDC resolutio,n this unannounced and highly questionable interception has resulted to the interruption of the normal flow of delivery of basic commodities to the consuming public, even locally-produced goods such as sugar and fertilizers, thereby causing inconvenience to a great number of businesses, especially large distributors such as the Alturas Group of Companies, Bohol Quality Corporation, and AH Shoppers Mart, and adversely affecting economic activity during the Christmas Season,

 

PDC also noted that it's the first time that the City of Tagbilaran and Province of Bohol have experienced the "highly questionable act of interception" that caused anxiety and confusion in the business community and among customers, aside from the negative impression regarding affected businessmen.

The businessmen pointed out during the meeting that they were transporting locally-produced goods which could have no other sources but the farms and local manufacturers.

BCCI members clarified that they fully support the objectives and goals of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's Executive Order 624 that created PASG issued on May 21, 2007.

BCCI  COMPLAINT   

The local businessmen said the operation of Montano's team can be tantamount to harassment.

"This act of interception may even be branded as a form of harassment, since the General Manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in Bohol, Manuel Boholano, has explicitly declared in a meeting with the BCCI that interception of business operations is proper and permissible only when there is an intelligence report of anomaly," the resolution stated.

The businessmen further complained that Montano's intercepting team even asked for official receipts of the goods when it has long been a business practice to keep official receipts in the company office for security and safekeeping, and the company driver and staff only carry with them the Bill of Lading for the commodities. 
 

Popular posts from this blog

Panglao Bohol International Airport Update

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has endorsed Gov. Erico Aumentado's request to frontload the 2010 budget for the Panglao Bohol International Airport to 2009.
  In a letter to Budget and Management Secretary Rolando Andaya, DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza favorably endorsed Aumentado's request seeking the frontloading, citing among other reasons, that 2010 is an election year.
  As such, Aumentado had explained, Congress might not be able to approve on time the calendar year 2010 General Appropriations Act (GAA), giving the country no other choice but to operate on a reenacted budget.
  A reenacted budget would jeopardize the airport project, the governor pointed out, because the 2009 budget carries only P307.5 million for the airport. The balance of the amount that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo earlier approved for DOTC to come up with stands at P690,971,398 for a total allocation needed of P998,471,398.
  The Manila International Airport Authority (MI…

Bohol Tourist Spots - Bohol Attractions

Heading east from Tagbilaran along the south coast takes you first to the coastal fishing town of BOOL , 5km away. Said to be the oldest settlement on the island, it's also the site of the  Blood Compact Site, marked by an attractive bronze sculpture on the seafront. This is the spot where local chieftain Rajah Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi concluded an early round of Philippine–Spanish hostili-ties in 1565 by signing a compact in blood. Every year for one week in July, Boholanos gather in Bool for the  Sandugo  (One Blood)  festival  which, apart from the usual beauty pageants and roast pigs, includes a passionate re-enactment of the blood ceremony.
About 2km east of Bool, BACLAYON  is the site of  Baclayon Church, the oldest stone church in the Philippines. Much of the existing facade was added by the Augustinian Recollects in the nineteenth century, but the rest dates back to 1595 and was declared a national historical landmark in 1995. The church's convent has been t…

Muslims in Bohol Philippines

The Muslim communities scattered all over Bohol stood us one Friday to make an unfavorable position of the hasty agreement defining the so-called ancestral domain of the Bangsamoro people.The ethnic leaders assembled Friday at Camp Dagohoy to witness the blessing and inauguration of the  new police center catering to Muslim issues and concerns. It is called Sala'am Center.It was an opportune time for the Post to get the reaction of the Muslim leaders given the combustible issue of a peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islam Liberation Front (MILF) now catching fire from all segments of Philippine society.The government and the MILF on Tuesday were set to sign a memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain following 10 years of off-and-on negotiations. But the Supreme Court stopped the ceremony after local Mindanao officials protested the inclusion of their areas in an expanded Moro homeland without consultations.Critics said the broad economic and po…