Ship manning firm bares new BOC modus to link unsuspecting companies to smuggling
BACOLOD CITY—A top official of a ship manning company based here on Sunday (July 14) called for an investigation of reports that linked it to the illegal release of 641 shipping containers loaded with smuggled goods at the Port of Manila and the filing of charges against those behind the reports.
“We are shocked and surprised by the accusation that our firm was involved in the illegal shipment of containers that according to the Bureau of Customs were brought to this country,” Orophil Shipping International Co. Inc. chair John Orola said.
The Bureau of Customs (BOC) alleged that some Customs personnel were in connivance with Orophil employees.
“We investigated this and not a single name they mentioned are known to us, nor are employees of our company,” said Orola.
“It’s all fabrication,” he added. ”I would like to get to the bottom of this and find out who is the real perpetrator of this package of lies, because we will file charges against those responsible for this,” he said.
He said he was informed that other shipping companies had fallen victims of this type of modus operandi at the BOC.
“We would like to request the help of the President to continue purging and clearing the Bureau of Customs of this kind of employees,” Orola said.
Tom Orola, Orophil president and CEO, said “there seems to have been a colorful maneuver /to hide the truth in the missing 641 containers.”
Tom, who is a member of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) Board of Trustees, had also sought the help of his colleagues for an investigation.
John Orola said Orophil has been in operation for almost 40 years and never was engaged in importation.
“We are an ISO accredited company and this affects our integrity here and abroad. We want this matter cleared as soon as possible because the credibility of our company is at stake,” he said.
“Our company is a manning and crewing company that has been providing employment to seafarers…the allegations that we brought in more than 600 containers is definitely false, untrue and baseless,” he added.
He said the allegation that the company has an import permit is definitely untrue and fabricated.
“Orophil Shipping does not have any importation permit,” he said.
He was reacting to media reports that the BOC on Friday filed at the Department of Justice smuggling charges against three of its employees and nine importers for smuggling.
The report said Orophil was the consignee of 642 containers with smuggled goods which were released between March 28 to Aug. 6, 2018 to a company called MMD Logistics Inc.
John Orola said Orophil has no transaction with MMD Logistics, which is based in Manila. and said to be the distributor of the contents of the containers that went missing. Orophil told BOC that it had no dealing with MMD Logistics but a press release from the bureau continued to link Orophil to the case, according to Orola.
Tom Orola, in a letter to to VACC president Arsenio Boy Evangelista, said he did not even dream about his company being linked to such reports that would damage its reputation.
“Our company is just a mere manning and crewing firm and never an importing container business,” he said in his letter to Evangelista.
“The BOC implicated us and maligned our names when they have no factual basis,” he said.
Tom said with the help of the VACC, he would counter the charges against him and his family./TSB
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.