Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, December 31, 2004

Korean firm lands in Subic watch list for smuggling

The Anti-Smuggling Group Task Force Subic has put on its “watchlist” a South Korean firm following the discovery in the afternoon of Dec. 29 expensive, highly dutiable electronics equipment worth millions of pesos which had been misdeclared as two used Delica vans each worth a mere $350.

Task force commander retired general Jose M. Calimlim ordered Raiden International Traiding Corp., be added to the group’s watch list of suspected smugglers because of previous violations of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP).

A certain Manuel Calamayan, who claimed to be a representative of Raiden Int’l. and who witnessed the seizure proceedings, said the van containing the misdeclared goods had been consigned to Minda Valenzuela, whom he identified as the common-law wife of the Korean businessman.

Calimlim informed Francisco Licuanan, chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), that the misdeclared goods had been shipped from Jeonbuk, South Korea on November 3, 2004.

He said the bill of lading showed the container van to be loaded with two second-hand vans and 55 packages of automotive spare parts such as bumpers, spoilers, rear-view mirrors, headlights and engine supports.

But outside of the dilapidated vans, there were no such spare parts. The van instead was full of sophisticated speakers, new television sets, a huge high-definition TV monitor, modern electronic massage equipment, and audio and video amplifiers.

Customs records identified the shipper as the Kunjang Trading Co. located at 501 Ohson Iksan City, Jeonbuk, South Korea.

Collector Zamoranos ordered an inventory of the expensive electronics equipment but a seaport appraiser estimated that the goods could easily be worth not less than R2 million.


Monday, December 27, 2004

SBMA execs say Subic not garrison state

By Allan Macatuno Inquirer News Service

Officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) belied reports that this freeport zone had turned into "a restricted port and a garrison state," saying it remained an investor-friendly community."Subic is neither a restricted port nor a garrison state and will never be.

It has not been militarized contrary to reports," said SBMA Administrator Alfredo Antonio.Antonio was reacting to allegations by several investors here that the freeport had become a "restricted port" and a militarized area when SBMA officials recently suspended the issuance of import permits.

Some businessmen said the suspension has forced them to close shop and also caused the non-payment of workers' wages.Antonio denied reports that manufacturers had been prevented from importing raw materials or component parts needed in their own production processes."This will never happen in our term because we are committed to transforming Subic into an international service and logistics hub in Southeast Asia as President Macapagal-Arroyo has envisioned and outlined in her 10-point economic program," he said.

He said the President's vision for SBMA would not be realized if the freeport's policies and directions were restricted.During a discussion with the Inquirer here on Dec. 17, Antonio said the only thing the SBMA had been strict about was the importation of used motor vehicles, which "was suspended in compliance with the President's directive."

"All the rest--trucks, generator sets, emergency vehicles and other non-restricted items including, of course, raw materials--are issued import permits as usual," he said."Sometimes when you are strict, that doesn't mean you are creating a garrison [state] and a militarized area," said retired Lt. Gen. Jose Calimlim, senior deputy administrator for operations and chief of the intelligence and investigation office of the SBMA

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Subic Chamber Welcomes New SBMA Officials

Newly appointed SBMA CEO Alfredo Antonio got a warm welcome from the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce with a dinner at Triboa Bay Country Club at SBF.

CEO Antonio, former president of Great Pacific Life Assurance Corp and director of Pacific Plans, said Subic has come a long way since the Seventh Fleet left its waters on November 24, 1992

Under the SBMA, what was once the site of a major US arsenal has grown exponentially as a commercial, industrial, recreational and eco-tourism largely owing to the efforts of his two predecessors and friends - former SBMA Chairmen and Administrators Richard Gordon and Felicito Payumo.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Ex-general becoming most powerful man in Subic

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT-A retired general is emerging as this freeport's most powerful man.

Retired Maj. Gen. Jose Calimlim has joined the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and is taking on several positions and tasks.

As the SBMA senior deputy administrator for operations, retired Maj. Gen. Jose Calimlim oversees two major infrastructures: The Subic Bay International Airport and the Subic Bay Seaport.

Calimlim is also president of the Freeport Services Corp., a government-owned and controlled firm which provides SBMA with personnel now totaling 1,800.
The retired general (a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1968) is also chief of the SBMA's law enforcement, intelligence and investigation department.

On top of those jobs, he also heads the SBMA's Task Force Anti-Smuggling, which President Macapagal-Arroyo created through Executive Order No. 384.
Can he get any more powerful than that?

By Tonette Orejas Inquirer News Service


Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. said yesterday his proposed P35-million program to modernize the fire-fighting capability of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) should include asbestos suits, hydraulic cutters and other modern gear to save people trapped in burning buildings.

Wasting no time to modernize the BFP after the tragic death of his daughter, Kristina Casimira, last week, De Venecia invited the Subic firefighting unit to the Dusit Hotel in Makati City to demonstrate how the use of modern equipment made it the country’s best equipped firefighting unit.

The Subic firefighters are capable of putting out blazes and rescuing people trapped in burning buildings or under earthquake debris. "This (modern equipment) will prevent the loss of lives due to ill-equipped fire-fighting units," De Venecia said.

He said this modernization program could be the "legacy of my daughter KC," who perished last week when she was trapped in a fire that razed the De Venecia home at Dasmariñas Village in Makati City.
De Venecia made three attempts together with firefighters to reach his daughter, but the lack of adequate fire-fighting equipment prevented them from reaching her.

He said President Arroyo has already endorsed his proposal to include a P35-million fund in the 2005 national budget to launch a drive to modernize the government’s fire-fighting units under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). De Venecia said he has also secured the approval of Senate President Franklin Drilon and House appropriations committee chairman and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, Jr.

The proposed fund will be tackled at the level of the bicameral conference, which is expected to convene in late January or early February, to hammer out the final version of the 2005 national budget. "This is just the initial amount to catalyze the modernization of the (BFP’s) fire-fighting capability," said De Venecia. "We will steadily build it up."

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Administrator Freddie Antonio were also at the Dusit Hotel, along with BFP officer-in-charge Brig. Gen. Rogelio Asignado, Fire District 3 director Supt. Ruben Morales, SBMA fire department assistant chief Ranny Magno. Asignado’s jurisdiction covers five cities in southern Metro Manila, including Makati City.

Magno and his SBMA fire crew demonstrated the use of hydraulic tools and cutters, circular saws, air chisels, metal cutters, fire blankets and airbags that can lift up to 70 tons of debris in collapsed buildings. The Subic fire crew also demonstrated the use of asbestos and structural suits worn when firefighters need to enter burning buildings.

"This demonstrates how we can save the lives of the elderly, the sick, the young and people in burning buildings," De Venecia said. "That’s why we approved the fund to modernize the government’s fire-fighting crews." The BFP upgrades are long overdue, with the clamor for better equipment and training for fire-fighters dating back to the mid- 1990s.

The modernization of the BFP will begin in the biggest cities of Metro Manila, Luzon and urban centers in the main islands of the Visayas and Mindanao.
Eventually, De Venecia seeks to upgrade the equipment of fire-fighting crews in each of the over 80 cities and 1,500 municipalities in the country

Monday, December 20, 2004

SBMC Begins Suv Exports to Africa

Subic Bay Motors Corporation (SBMC), one of the leading auctioneers of used-motor vehicles, has started penetrating the international market by initially exporting 20 units of sports utility vehicles (SUV) and pick-ups to Sudan, Africa.

SBMC General Manager Ben Perez attributed the success of this new business endeavor to the efforts of the company's Japanese partner Komei Toya of Azumaya Tohin Seisakusho Co., Ltd..

Perez said prospects for exports of imported SUVs, pick-ups, trucks and heavy equipment to Africa, Vietnam, Dubai, Iran, Iraq and other Middle East countries are now possible.

He particularly cited the purchase order received by SBMC from Ranhill Engineers and Contractors Sdn. Bhd. of Malaysia after six months of intensive international marketing campaign.

Ranhill is Malaysia's premier engineering corporation focusing on essential industries such as oil and gas, power, water and infrastructure development.
According to Perez, SBMC is also in the final negotiation stage with Bitumart International Asia Co., Limited of Bangkok, Thailand to supply 20 units of Toyota hi-lux pick-ups, 12 units of Isuzu 10-wheeler Tractor Heads and 12 units low-bed and high-bed trailers.

SBMC is being represented by its business partner, Mr. Takashi Morinaga who is a sub-contractor of Penta Ocean Group doing the P3.22-billion Subic Port Modernization Project and Taisei Corporation implementing the Iloilo International Airport Project.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Alfredo C. Antonio expressed full support to SBMC's new business endeavor in exporting used vehicles.

Antonio lauded their efforts to develop expertise of Filipino mechanics and auto industry workers to produce export quality automotive products.

"It is the earnest desire of SBMA to support this type of activity so that the rest of the world would really see that the Filipinos can be great and we are hoping there will be a lot more of these export quality products to reach the global market," he noted

Business - AsiaPulse

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Philippine anti-smuggling czar receives death threats

(Xinhuanet) -- A retired Philippine army general who is now working as the chief of anti-smuggling task force in the former US navy base of Subic Bay said on Sunday that he is repeatedly receiving death threats.
General Jose Calimlim said he has been getting death threats since he assumed last month as the anti-smuggling czar at the Subic freeport in Zambales, northern Philippines, which he has described as haven of smuggling syndicates.
Calimlim would not speculate on who have been sending him deaththreats on his cellular phone but one of his associates suspects those who have been affected by the government's renewed fight against smuggling in Subic.
The Subic freeport was established after the United States pulled out its navy forces in 1993 in the wake of a violent and deadly volcano irruption overwhelming a large area nearby.
Calimlim said he frequently received texted death threats on his cellular phone, warning him to be careful on his operations while other text messages asked the former military intelligence chief if he is bullet-proof.
Despite the death threats, Calimlim said there will be no let up in the operation of his task force. Early this month, Calimlim vowed that there would be no sacred cows in the anti-smuggling drive.
Calimlim's task force, composed of elite units from the Armed Forces and from the Philippine National Police, was created by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in early November.
For the past three weeks, the task force has seized at least 15million pesos (2.67 million US dollars) worth of luxury goods in vehicles declared as second hand vehicles, refrigerators and television sets

Saturday, December 18, 2004

DX3UNA Pamaskong Handog

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Officers and members of the Ulo Ng Apo Amateur Radio Club (DX3UNA) shown here with their President 4F3RUY Rudy Dalluay, Vice President 4F3DYL, Secretary DU3PSA Myk Johnson, Treasurer DU3EJP Ed Piano and Director DU3ACG Father Pol during the annual gift giving activities in different parts of Olongapo City

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DX3UNA President 4F3RUY given the privilage to give the Global Pinoy Award to Senator Richard Gordon during the Volunteers Day Celebration
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"Manong Ruds . . . masyado yata naka tutok . . he he he"

Monday, December 13, 2004

3 cops killed, 1 seriously hurt in Olongapo attack

Three city policemen and a security guard assigned at a pawnshop near a police checkpoint on the national highway in Barangay Barretto were killed Thursday evening in what police officials believe was a rebel attack. Another policeman was seriously wounded in the attack.

Senior Supt. Orlando Maddela Jr., Olongapo City Police Office director, identified the slain policemen as Insp. Ernesto Cruz from Bataan, Senior Police Officer 2 Bologto Ramos and SPO1 Emerson Valdez, both from Zambales, and Felix Tacbas, a security guard of Lovely Kahael’s pawnshop in Barangay Barretto and a resident of Barangay Santa Elena, Subic, Zambales. The policemen were from Police Precinct 6.

Veteran policemen here said this was the first such attack made on policemen in the city. Maddela’s report said Cruz and Tacbas were killed instantly in front of the HBC building near the Community Police Assistance Center outpost. Ramos was declared dead on arrival at the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital while Valdez died as he was undergoing surgery.

SPO1 Benjamin Quintino, the lone survivor, is still listed in critical condition.
Investigators said the attackers, believed to be members of the New People’s Army breakaway group Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan and armed with M-16 and .45-caliber pistols, struck at 10:20 p.m.

Police declined to give further details on the identities of the gunmen.
Witnesses said the gunmen were onboard an L300 van (WKA 635) and suddenly fired at the policemen when they saw the checkpoint, which was located near several of the city’s bars and restaurants.

Tacbas’ fellow security guard, Ronald delos Reyes, said Tacbas had a wife and three children.

Responding city policemen, aided by policemen from Subic, found the gunmen’s van abandoned at 12 midnight in Barangay Manggahan, Subic, Zambales. A bullet hole on the left side of the van indicated that at least one of the policemen at the checkpoint was able to shoot back at the attackers, an investigator said.

The van turned out to be rented from the D-Axis Car Rental Co., owned by Elizer Alonzo of Field Avenue, Angeles City.

An employee of the rental company assigned to drive the van, Ver Badato, 41, said one of the gunmen rented the vehicle at 4 p.m. saying they would pick up a few guests in San Fernando, Pampanga. Instead of heading for San Fernando, they headed for the dike in Porac, Pampanga, where two more men got on the van.

Badato said the men then asked him to get off the van and drove toward Olongapo City.

The owner of the rented van told police he received a text message at 3 a.m. on December 10 informing him that the van was in police custody. It was not immediately known who sent the message.

The gunmen, who were last seen fleeing toward the hills of Zambales, were able to take two M-16 rifles and a radio from the police checkpoint.

Police officials in Olongapo said the Zambales and Bataan provincial police will aid in tracking down the gunmen

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Senator Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, went on an extended over air and land survey yesterday of the areas in Northeastern Luzon devastated by the recent typhoons. Gordon was joined by US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone (right) and representatives of the European Commission Humanitarian Office, Spanish Red Cross, International Federation of the Red Cross, US Office of Foreign Disasters Assistance. The group went to the towns of Infanta, Real and Gen. Nakar in Quezon; Baler in Aurora; and Palayan, Nueva Ecija. The assessment team checked on the status of the damage in the areas and the ongoing rescue and relief efforts which included hundreds of stranded Aetas.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Sale of Masinloc coal plant nets $56.1 million for gov't

Communications Director Secretary Silvestre Afable announced today the successful privatization of the 600 megawatt (MW) Masinloc coal power plant in Zambales after a successful bid of $561 million by YNN Pacific Consortium, Inc.

YNN Pacific Consortium Inc. topped the bid of First General Holdings Corporation. Masinloc is the first large power plant to be bid out by the government’s power privatization arm, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM).

"Energy Secretary Vince Perez immediately reported the successful sale of Masinloc to the President and she was very pleased that the bidding was successful," Secretary Afable said.

Secretary Afable noted that the power privatization program is on track and investors’ outlook continue to be positive.

"President Arroyo commended the energy department and PSALM for this landmark accomplishment. She also instructed PSALM President Raphael Lotilla to ensure a smooth transfer of the assets to the highest bidder," Afable added.

According to the Department of Energy, Masinloc is the first large power plant to be bid out by the government’s power privatization arm, the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM).

In his report to the President, Energy Secretary Perez described the sale as "a high point in our power privatization efforts". He also stressed that the bid offers for the plant were "respectable" and the integrity of the entire bidding process was safeguarded.

Finance Secretary and Psalm Board Chairperson Juanita D. Amatong said she foresees that the National Power Corporation will make a financial turn around soon with the help of proceeds from the sale of power assets.

Masinloc is the sixth power plant to be successfully privatized through bidding.
Last month, PSALM bid out the 1.2 Loboc hydroelectric plant (HEP) in Bohol to Sta. Clara International for $1.42 million. In September, PSALM bid out the 0.4 MW Cawayan HEP in Sorsogon to Sorsogon II Electric Cooperative, Inc. for $410, 410.

During the first half of the year, PSALM also bid out the Talomo HEP in Davao to Aboitiz-owned Hydro Electric Development Corporation for $1.37 million, while the Lopez energy firm First Generation Holdings gave the highest bid for the Agusan HEP with its offer of US$1.5 million. Barit HEP in Camarines Sur was bid out for US$480,000 to Atty. Ramon Constancio, a US-based Filipino lawyer.


Senator Richard Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), went on an extended over air and land survey yesterday of the areas in Northeastern Luzon devastated by the recent typhoons. Gordon was joined by US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone, Land Bank Chairman Cito Lorenzo, European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) representative Nick Bridger, Deborah Rull of the Spanish Red Cross (SRC), Rene Jinon and Jonie Mammodi of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), Tom Doland of the US Office of Foreign Disasters Assistance, and PNRC assessment team members. The group went to the towns of Infanta, Real and Gen. Nakar in Quezon; Baler in Aurora; and Palayan, Nueva Ecija.

Gordon disclosed that the visit with the representatives of various international organizations was meant to make assessments on the current situations of the said areas strongly affected by typhoons Unding, Violeta, Winnie and Yoyong which struck the country in a mere span of three weeks.

"International support is coming and we have with us foreign experts on water, urban planning, and relief and rehabilitation who will help us evaluate the causes and possible solutions for the flooding and other typhoon-caused tragedies," Gordon said.

Gordon, who is also Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, reported that the SRC has already answered his earlier appeal for support for the victims of typhoons Unding and Violeta. Last Thursday, the SRC turned over their donation of P4.4M to the PNRC. Amb. Ricciardone, after the visit said the US government will extend support to assist in the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas.

According to Gordon, aside from food, medicine and other relief goods, restoration of basic infrastructure services should be prioritized. During their visit, the team found out that although the cell towers of major networks of communications were not destroyed, the services were not operational. Gordon immediately called up PLDT President and CEO Manny Pangilinan and brought the matter to the latter's attention. Pangilinan reported to Gordon after three hours that the phones lines in Baler were already restored and assured the senator that the lines in Infanta and Gen. Nakar will be restored today.

Amid numerous statements from various officials deploring illegal logging, considered to be the major factor in the flooding and flashfloods, and vowing to hold responsible the big fishes behind it, Gordon emphasized there is a need for "radical positive measures rather than radical negative measures" in confronting the problem. Gordon said he will file a bill that will impel prisoners to plant trees. According to him, low risk prisoners or those who are already under parole may be tasked to be part of the government's reforestration program. He added that tree planting may also be included in the high school and college curriculum or may also be an alternative or part of the ROTC program.

Gordon also reiterated the need for the DENR and attached agencies to conduct thorough studies to identify areas prone to flooding to be able for the government to evacuate its residents and "keep them from harm's way" even before the onslaught of typhoons

Saturday, December 04, 2004

3 luxury vehicles worth some P4 M

Three luxury vehicles worth some R4 million were seized yesterday by operatives of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Anti-Smuggling Task Force of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) at the Naval Supply Depot here.

Gen. (retired) Jose Calimlim, SBMA’s senior deputy administrator for port operations, led the opening of one of 40 40-footer container vans that resulted in the seizure of one Mitsubishi Delica passenger van, one Mercedes Benz sports car and one Toyota Prado vehicle.

Calimlim said that the declared price of the Mercedes Benz sports car is only $550, noting that the actual bookshelf price of the vehicle is $34,000.
The declared value of the Toyota Prado was also $550, while the Mitsubishi Delica had a declared value of $450.
The three vehicles have a total declared value of $1,550.

Newly appointed Subic Port Customs Collector Marietta Zamoranos said that the shipment was consigned to Bayshore General Merchandise (BGM) and was declared to contain one used passenger van and two used utility vehicles.

Zamoranos said it appears that BGM violated Executive Order No. 384 which provides that only heavy machinery and equipment, and their spare parts, along with raw materials and essential consumer products not produced locally, are allowed to be imported.

During the opening of the shipment, Calimlim questioned BGM representative Boy Nadar about the whereabouts of BGM president Repoldo C. Nadar and the other consignees.

The shipment, which was among 40 container vans that arrived at the Port of Subic last Nov. 5 with admission number A31335, came from Yokohama, Japan aboard SL Lightning vessel.

The seized vehicles were placed under the custody of the Bureau of Customs. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is preparing to file a case in connection with the shipment.

General Calimlim said that according to his informants, there could be more smuggled luxury vehicles in the other container vans that have yet to be opened.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Task Force Subic intercepts contraband cars

Lawmen intercepted on Thursday a container van containing three luxury cars that were declared to be used utility vehicles, according to the presidential antismuggling Task Force Subic, headed by Jose Calimlim, Freeport Services Corp. president.

Calimlim, who led the interception operation, said three luxury cars, worth more than P3 million, were about to be smuggled out of the free port when operatives of Task Force Subic seized the 40-foot container at the Naval Supply Depot Container Yard.

He said the container van was part of a 20-container van shipment consigned to Bayshore General Merchandise & General Services Corp., an automobile trading company at the free port, headed Reynaldo C. Nadar as president.

“This kind of modus operandi falls under technical smuggling,” Calimlim explained. “[Smugglers] usually cover the luxury cars with an authorized secondhand import permit.”

Calimlim, former head of the antismuggling Task Force Aduana, said the seizure confirmed information that there are plans afoot to import luxury cars through the free port.

“The task force has secured the Subic seaport in anticipation of the additional smuggled luxury cars,” he said. “Our information is that these are not just Mercedez Benzes, but also BMWs and Ferraris from Europe, transshipped either via China or Hong Kong. We will be checking strictly all vessels arriving at the free-port zone.”

The Task Force Subic was created via Executive Order 384, signed by President Arroyo on November 8, and includes the Bureau of Customs, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and the Intelligence Service of the AFP.

But Boy Nadar, brother of the Bayshore president, denied knowing about the foiled smuggling attempt and claimed the shipment belonged to a certain Eupemia.

“I am the processor of the shipment and if we had known that the shipment was a misdeclaration, we might not have processed and claimed the shipment,” he said.

Nadar said there were 10 to 15 consignees for the 20 container vans that will be shipped from Japan to Subic. Some of these vans arrived on November 26, the rest are still on their way to the free port. The Customs issued a warrant of detention and seizure order for the seized luxury cars.

The lawyer Tita Zamoramos, the newly appointed Customs collector for the Port of Subic who accompanied Calimlim during the seizure operation, said the three cars were a two-door Mercedez Benz, a Mitsubishi Delica and a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.

The Mercedez was declared to be worth $550.00 (P30,800) but its assessment value is $34,000 (P1.9 million), the Delica was declared to be worth $450.00 (P25,200) and the Prado was declared at $550.00 (P30,800).

The shipping manifest said the van contained two 10-seater diesel utility vehicle and one used passenger van with a total declared value of $1,550 (P86,800).
Zamoramos, who replaced sacked Collector Arnel Alcaraz, said the Customs is confident that smuggling will eventually be minimized in the free port.

She was district collector in Northern Mindanao when she first worked with Calimlim in the defunct Task Force Aduana during the Estrada ad­ministration.
“With the help of conscientious and dedicated people, I am sure [the Customs] can solve technical smuggling in Subic,” Zamoramos added

Thursday, December 02, 2004

GMA hails seizure in Subic of container van carrying smuggled cars

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today hailed the seizure of a container van containing smuggled luxury vehicles by agents of Task Force Subic headed by retired general Jose M. Calimlim, saying it’s a major strike against smugglers.
The container van, which documents claimed to contain utility vehicles, was found to actually have a Mercedes Benz sports car and two other luxury vehicles which Subic Customs Collector Atty. Tita Zamoramos said was a clear case of technical smuggling.

Calimlim, former chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), said intelligence reports have it that the shipment was only the first of 20 vans declared as containing automotive spare parts but actually full of luxury vehicles.

"The German sports cars we found this morning are just the lead shipment ," Calimlim said. "According to my intelligence agents, there will be at least 20 more container vans declared as automotive spare parts to disguise luxury cars which will be arriving from abroad," he said.

The suspect shipment was consigned to Bayshore Merchandising Ltd. the owners of which are still being checked by Calimlim’s agents.
Calimlim, the scourge of smugglers when he headed Task Force Aduana, is among three officials handpicked by the President to clean up the Clark-Subic Freeport Zone and make it the logistics hub of Southeast Asia.

The powerful triumvirate, which took over the management of the Subic Freeport Oct. 18, includes Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Francis Licuanan and administrator Alfredo Antonio. Calimlim is president of the Freeport Services Corp. and SBMA senior deputy for operations, in addition to being commander of the Task Force Subic.

"The task force has secured the Subic seaport in anticipation of the additional smuggled luxury cars. Our information is that the shipments are not just Mercedes Benzes but also BMWs and Ferraris from Europe, transshipped either via China or Hong Kong. We will be checking strictly all vessels arriving at the Freeport zone," Calimlim said.

Task Force Subic was created by Executive Order 384 signed by President Macapagal-Arroyo on Nov. 8 this year. Unlike other task forces, which are of ad hoc or temporary nature, TF Subic is a permanent crime arm of SBMA. It is funded from the regular annual SBMA budget, unlike other task forces which depend on national contingency funds


"A journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step," Olongapo City Mayor James J. Gordon Jr. borrowed the famous phrase to emphasize the enormous task of reviving the rivers in the city during the launching last Friday of the an environmental preservation project.
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Gordon said city government employees and officials including members of the city council, barangay and community leaders fully support this worthy project
Both the Olongapo City government and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) vowed to continuously implement the project that includes an educational program involving outlying communities and the passage of city ordinances that would impose stiffer penalties to violators.

"Let’s all help to preserve and save mother earth." This was the message SBMA Administrator Alfredo C. Antonio delivered during the launching of an environmental preservation campaign to clean the stinking and polluted rivers separating the Olongapo City and the Freeport zone.

"Kalaklan river is being used as a demarcation line to identify the boundaries separating the Freeport zone and Olongapo City but with this river clean-up project it is now a symbol of cooperation and teamwork aiming at a common cause in environmental preservation," Antonio added.

Antonio said the Kalaklan River clean-up project is just the start of a more vibrant mutual collaboration between the SBMA and Olongapo City particularly in tourism-related projects, investments generation and more importantly, in the creation of more employment opportunities through job fairs.

SBMA labor department manager Severo Pastor, project coordinator, said the project "aims to bring a hero in all of us" through Bayanihan, a famous Filipino tradition that depicts the spirit of cooperation.

"Bayanihan can easily solve problems or crisis that will arise in our society and this river clean-up project would serve as a model in this Filipino concept for the new generation," Pastor explained.

Dubbed "Tulong-tulong Sa Kalinisan ng Ilog Kalaklan", the project is also being supported by various investors inside the Freeport zone, civic organizations and non-government organizations


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