MANILA, Philippines - Customs intelligence and investigation agents will be sent to private ports and far-flung piers to stop them from being used as gateways for smugglers.
Ronald Jess Alcudia, head executive assistant of Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Jesse Dellosa, said 142 agents will be reshuffled to allow some of them to be sent to these ports to monitor shipments entering the country.
“That is always a concern, especially if we have no presence in an area,“ he said. “Some people might take advantage.”
Dellosa has noticed that some collection districts do not have enough personnel, he added.
Alcudia said Customs intelligence agents were centered for years in the Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Customs intelligence agents will remain in the three big ports, Alcudia said.
Some other ports were either not manned or have little presence, he added.
Some ports either have a shortage or have entirely no Customs intelligence officer.
Alcudia said from zero, five intelligence officers would be sent to Surigao; from zero to three intelligence officers for each of Tacloban and Iloilo cities; from one to five intelligence officers each in Zambales and San Fernando in La Union; from one to four intelligence officers each in Legazpi and Aparri cities; and from one to three intelligence officers in Limay, Bataan.
“Our intention is to put eyes in areas where we are blind,” he said. “The intention is to spread resources in areas where we do not deploy.”
Alcudia said while the volume of shipments in these distant ports is lower compared to the main ports, they might be caught off guard if they would not beef up vigilance in these areas.