Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Arroyo orders probe of Subic fuel smuggling

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines—President Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday ordered officials of the Bureau of Customs and other anti-smuggling agencies to go after smuggling syndicates following reports that at least 51 million liters of fuel are unaccounted for in this freeport.

“We are undertaking a strong and steady effort to curb graft and corruption…We do not tolerate smuggling in Subic or anywhere else,” Ms Arroyo said during a visit to the freeport.

“Let us make our economy more business-friendly—friendly to legitimate businesses and unfriendly to crooked businessmen.”

Transactions reviewed

Ms Arroyo said she was instructing the Bureau of Customs and other anti-smuggling task forces “to crack down on those involved in what has just been reported to me these past few days (about) unliquidated 51 million liters of fuel here in Subic.”

Ms Arroyo inaugurated the Subic-Cawag-Balaybay Road that will connect the shipyard of the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd. (HHIC) at Subic to a community of farmers and fishermen.

Armand Arreza, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority administrator, confirmed that 51 million liters of fuel remained unliquidated by an oil trading firm based here.

Arreza declined to name the firm, saying the SBMA was reviewing the transactions of the nine oil trading firms doing business at the freeport.

In Manila, Customs commissioner Napoleon Morales said he had already ordered an investigation into unaccounted for fuel.
By Ansbert Joaquin - Inquirer With reports from Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon, and Edson C. Tandoc in Manila

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