29, Customs Commissioner Rufino Biazon personally supervised the seizure of seven 20-foot container vans of white Thailand sugar worth at least P7 million that were consigned to two locators at the Mactan Economic Processing Zone (Mepza) in Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu.
The shipment for Muramoto was declared as "plastic parts for eyeglasses" and those for Mobilia as "marble and granite products." Port and Mepza insiders think that the names of the locators, both Japanese companies, may just have been used by the importer.
This latest smuggling attempt using Mepza locators comes on the heels of a bigger rice smuggling attempt that involved locators in Subic and validates Biazon's concern about the continuing abuse and misuse of the tax-free privileges of ecozone investors.
Mazahir Adamjee, the outgoing president of the Mauritius Export Processing Zone Association (MEPZA
), pointed out that exports of clothes were worth 23bn rupees, up 8.6% on 1998 figures, while exports of textiles yarn and fabrics were up by over 65%.