Manila Bulletin - Senators say Aquino BOC reforms puzzling

7 August 2013

By Mario B. Casayuran | Manila Bulletin

Senators Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Vicente Sotto III said they don't understand how President Benigno S. Aquino III bats for reforms at the Bureau of Customs without removing inefficient officials.

Marcos said President Aquino himself admitted that corruption is rife at the customs bureau, but not one ranking customs official has been fired. Marcos cited the offer of Customs Commissioner Rufino ‘’Ruffy’’ Biazon to resign but the President turned it down, despite his scathing remarks about BOC during his last State of the Nation Address (SONA). Reports also claim that the Executive Chief has not accepted the resignation letters of Customs Deputy Commissioners Danilo Lim and Juan Lorenzo Tanada.

What puzzles the son of the late President Ferdinand Marcos was why President Aquino continues to repose his trust and confidence in Biazon despite unabated smuggling activities.

Marcos termed as ‘’very alarming’’ the failure of the customs bureau to meet its collection targets in the past seven months.

Sotto, for his part, said there must be reforms at the customs bureau because of widespread corruption resulting in billions of pesos in revenue losses.

The customs bureau’s stock answer to the revenue collection shortfalls are the incidences of smuggling, trade liberalization, weak international trade and weakening of the peso vis a vis the US dollar.