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Gone with the Wind?

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Trucks carrying imported sacks of rice and sugar—without proper documents, were apprehended by the police, somewhere in Baliwasan two days ago. This is the bombshell: all of them mysteriously dissipated the following day! Something, they quickly were gone by the wind in just as short as one single day. As to the writing of this column, there are no clear explanations which either the police or the Bureau of Customs could give to the public.

Now, such became the talk of the town the entire day of yesterday, to the extent that others remarked that probably some crystals were swallowed by the stealthy owners of the smuggled items, which might have caused the sudden disappearance of those controversial sacks of goods.

Similar scenarios did also happen in the past, where hundreds of sacks of contraband items were seized by the authorities, but again they soon were gone in no time without any explanations given by the supposed responsible agencies. Something is implied then, that La Bella is indeed the capital city to smuggled rice and sugar in Region IX. What do you think?

Accordingly, there are hundreds of smuggled sacks of rice and sugar all over which are passed through our finger wharves—in the East and West Coasts, daily. In fact, one will needless have to prove the existence of smugglers around because anybody can buy by kilos or by sacks of smuggled rice and sugar in most of our markets around Zamboanga City.

In fairness, smuggled rice has the quality—by face value, and is also notably cheaper than the local rice. Thus, locals easily patronize them. In the process, who do you think are left in the disadvantage? Obviously our local farmers and the State itself! With regards to the former, their own products are the ones unnecessarily impaired that due to the uncontrollable price which rice smugglers are cheaply offering to our merchants around.

Also apparently, the supposed revenue of all the smuggled items should have been part of the lifeblood—taxes, for our country. But the reverse instead is the reality: it ain’t the state which benefits them but the witty smugglers. As many say, smugglers are the ones who have the bigger houses amongst our subdivisions all over in La Bella and the fancy cars running in our streets.

Anyways, despite that the public is pretty helpless it continues to wait for the proper authorities to indeed make the necessary investigations of those smuggled items above. We hope also that the national government—the Duterte administration, may give a strong opposition against the ongoing rice and sugar smuggling in Zamboanga City. It is an open embarrassment for our officials and the Zamboangueño people themselves that smuggling has already rooted to be a seeming formidable force in La Bella.

By opinion, we need leaders who are willing to stand against these giants. Another ugly piece in the picture is the openness of some officials to accept bribe money—hence, the easy circulation of the smuggled rice and sugar. Would you believe that no less than the Philippine Senate had already conducted a probe to the existing smuggling in Zamboanga City!

Something two years ago, Sen. Villar bore names to who are involved to the rice and sugar smuggling in Reg. IX. The last thing which we were told were the implicated individuals shall be prosecuted. FYI: such remained ineffective or simply a useless threat which may never happen anymore. Whew! Well, giving such planned prosecution the benefit of the doubt, it should not go beyond the prescriptive period.

Poor general public! We are the ones who are in the usual mercy of the few who know how to play dirty politics. Be it politicians or plain smugglers, each exactly know how to strategize their moves, as to remain untouchable. Anyways, the single benefit which the ordinary publicmay enjoy is the cheaper price of grains amongst our markets. But again such is only temporary, simply because it has definite repercussions in the future.

“A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.” (Prov. 11:1-3, ESV)

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