Anomalies uncovered at Batangas port
Extortion activities allegedly undertaken by Coast Guard personnel at the Port of Batangas should be investigated.
I learned about the corrupt practices of the Coast Guard men when they prevented a ferry service, Fastcat, from sailing to the port of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro province on Nov. 13 because the driver and helper of a cargo truck reportedly didn’t give money to Coast Guard inspectors.
The truck was loaded with medicines, medical supplies, canned goods, slippers and blankets meant for a medical mission to a Mangyan tribe in Pinamalayan town.
The ferry was held for about 15 minutes while some members of my staff at “Isumbong mo kay Tulfo” public service program talked with the Coast Guard personnel.
My staff, the advance party of the medical mission, was told by the security guards at the Batangas port to proceed to the ferry with the cargo truck in tow after they paid terminal fees for both the truck and the passenger van.
They asked the guards whether there were other requirements or fees to pay, but were told there was none.
My staff, led by Joyce Molon, should have been told by the Coast Guard that they had to register the truck’s cargo, but they were not advised to do so.
The Coast Guard pounced on the truck when it was already on board and ordered an inspection of the cargo.
Even after they already checked the cargo’s contents, the Coast Guard inspectors still held the ship’s departure.
Somebody whispered to Joyce to give a measly P20 to the inspectors, which she refused to do.
Joyce then called up Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo, Coast Guard spokesperson, who in turn talked to the Coast Guard inspectors.
“Why didn’t you tell us the shipment belonged to Tulfo?” the inspectors told Joyce and hurriedly left.
“Salamabits!”, as the late columnist Max Soliven would often write in his column whenever he got angry at corrupt officials.
There are hundreds of trucks containing foodstuff going to Calapan port from the Port of Batangas every day, so they must earn a lot if P20 is multiplied a hundred times.
How much of the P2,000 daily collection—that’s a very conservative estimate by this writer—goes to Coast Guard officials in Manila?
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The medical mission was undertaken by Sagipbayan Foundation, a charity organization of doctors, dentists and nurses from St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Headed by Dr. Sammy Tanzo, Sagipbayan has taken countless medical missions to far-flung areas, most notable of which was Tacloban City three days after Supertyphoon “Yolanda” struck Eastern Visayas last year.
Its medical mission from Nov. 15 to Nov. 16 to Pinamalayan town, two hours by bus from the capital of Calapan, served 700 Mangyan patients who trekked several hours from their mountain homes to get to the mission site.
We’d like to express our gratitude to Fr. Arnold Magboo, the town’s parish priest, for allowing us the use of the church compound as the mission site.
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