MANILA, Philippines ? The Navotas City government wants local police to have jurisdiction over the Navotas Fish Port Complex following reports of unabated smuggling inside the facility.
?I would insist on local police jurisdiction inside the fish port to stop illegal activities that damage the city?s reputation,? Mayor Toby Tiangco told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.
Tiangco said he is planning to set up a local police detachment in the complex because of the inability of the maritime police to control dynamite fishing and smuggling.
At present, the Philippine Maritime Police has jurisdiction over the complex.
?It is the incompetence of the present law enforcement agency inside the fish port that made it possible for smuggling activities to prosper,? Tiangco said.
He criticized the maritime police for its inability to stop blast fishing in the coast of Navotas.
?Records would show that we have more apprehensions, compared to the maritime police,? the mayor said.
He said he had long asked the police leadership to return to the local police jurisdiction over the complex.
The mayor said local police investigators were only allowed inside the complex if requested by the maritime police.
?Our hands are tied. We want to rid the complex of illegal activities and criminality but our local police are prevented by a previous memorandum of agreement between the operators of the fish port and the police hierarchy,? Tiangco said.
The Bureau of Customs and the National Bureau of Investigation raided Tuesday barges and vessels belonging to BSJPC and Trading suspected of smuggling P150 million worth of fuel at the fish port.
The company denied the allegations, branding the raid as an act of harassment.