Biazon: Complete overhaul of customs bureau needed

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Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Customs needs not just a revamp of personnel, particularly those involved in corruption, but a “complete overhaul” or “rebuilding the agency from scratch,” Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said Thursday.

Contacted in Panama City, where he was scheduled to address the two-day conference of the World Customs Organization—Asia-Pacific and the Americas Customs Leaders’ Dialogue— Biazon said he was “not opposed to a revamp” although he believed what was needed was to rebuild the bureau from scratch.

Quoting from his April 4 blog on the Internet, he said that “mere replacement of people involved (in the BOC’s Run After the Smugglers campaign), while necessary and significant, will not be the ultimate solution.”

“A change in the system and the environment needs to happen, including a paradigm shift in how we view the role of the Bureau of Customs, not just in revenue collection and border security but in trade facilitation, as well,” he added.

“Commissioners come and go, but the kalakaran remains the same as it has always been,” he said. “That’s because people have always looked at the act of smuggling as the be-all and end-all of the problem. But if you remove one corrupt individual and yet the same environment prevails, the risk for the replacement to go bad remains high.”

Biazon said the problem of petroleum smuggling was not new.

“It is a problem that hounds every Customs administration not just in the Philippines but around the world. Even the most technologically advanced customs unit face the same problem; the only difference is the magnitude of the problem and the dynamics of the system prevailing in each country. But sometimes, it is also a matter of perception by sectors concerned,” he said.

On Petron CEO Ramon Ang’s claim that the government has been losing P30 billion in revenues due to oil smuggling, he said, “It must be noted that his statement covers the period 2007 to 2011…. As a consequence of that statement, some lawmakers and candidates in the forthcoming elections have issued their own commentaries on the matter, some with specific proposals and others with general allegations that nothing is being done.”

In a text message to the Inquirer, Biazon said he had been asked by the Brussels-based WCO to give a talk on the “Philippine experience in the application of intelligence-based risk management to counter illicit trade.”

“I was invited to the April 4 and 5 conference due to the illegal trade interceptions made by the Bureau of Customs during the past two-and-a-half years,” he said, adding “at least sa international Customs community napansin.”

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  • $4612959

    At kasama ka doon, inutil ka!

  • siegfeil

    The petroleum smuggling is not new. Many were already assassinated when they tried to intervene with the big syndicates. Thanks to Ramon Ang for blowing the horn. I doubt if Pres Pnoy can do something about this.

  • Joey Sanchez

    umalis ka na lang dyn! P30,000,000,000 anak ng kuwago san mo hagilapin yan nawala na yan!

    • $4612959

      Now na! Dahil daw sa nangyayari sa ibang bansa, parang okay na rin na mangyari sa atin. Napakahina itong dating med tech na naging congressman ng Muntinlupa.

  • Paulstronghold

    Even replacement of all personnel and changing paradigm shift is not enough. There must be political will to implement the law. Those caught stealing from the government, I.e.’ those who customarily received “grease” money from brokers, customers must be accountable and prosecuted to the fullest extend of the law. Rhetorics is not enough. Enough is enough. Pwede ba namang hindi masugpo ang katiwalian kung talagang gugustuhin? We should replace Biazon because – again – he failed like his predecessors.

    • mabuhay_si_marKy

      napansin nang international community ang mga magagandang nangyayari na. that’s why the troubles coming to the surface because some people now know that the system can be changed unlike the old dwarfish govt.

  • pepito gwaps

    parang sinabi nya na wala akong magawa sa problema nito….he.he.he

    • $4612959

      Ganoon na nga yun. Papano kasi miyembro siya ng Liberal Party kaya di siya matanggaltanggal ni PNoy. Shades of KKK all over again.

      • pepito gwaps

        saka maraming matataba at veteranong buwaya ang andyan kaya kapag sinalungat ay tepok ka he.he.he…

      • mabuhay_si_marKy

        oo nga kagagawan nang mga pandak at ang asawa nyang buwayang baboy… tsk tsk tsk

        buti na lang liberal party sya at meron panindigan… kung UNA pa yan ewan ko na

  • mad_as_Hamlet

    * * * * *

    If an army can be disciplined, how much more a civilian organization. Toughness and fairness can go hand in hand. But it can only be done by a man of character and true courage. Never by cute and acute politicians.

    • marienkind

      Except our army sucks just as bad.

  • $4612959

    This Biazon guy is a weakling. If you can’t do the job, just resign. What are you doing there? Puro ka excuses. Btw, saan galing ang pinambili mo ng bahay sa Ayala Alabang? Nagtatanong lang po.

    • mabuhay_si_marKy

      this biazon guy has done much to change the system already. that’s why his work is being noticed. now back for more work… 10 years of GMA troubles and Marcos system is not easy to wipe out.

      mabuhay ka biazon!

      • $4612959

        Mabuhay ang smuggling sa panahon ni Biazon. Wala kading bayag yan e.

      • mabuhay_si_marKy

        si GMA gusto nya bayag ni kiram

    • Pio Pusli

      the problem with our “super smart” bloggers here is they’re too smart for their own moronic idea. why don’t use your brain for once in your life? why not ask the question first and foremost: was there anY evidence that link biazon for all the corruptions? second, was the problem in BOC so endemic, a culture that evry pinoy who wants to work wants to “get rich quick”,that no amount of harvard graduates like jun palafox can fix? third, yes command responsibility is paramount, but don’t you think if Jesus H Christ is the BOC commisioner, then we all be singing HALLELUJAH? THINK IDIOTS

      • jHdz

        a biazon apologist. having no technical evidence does not mean he is not guilty of incompetence. he’s been with the bureau of two long years and the evidence that you’re looking for is on the result that he’s done NOTHING at all… you ID IOT!

  • $30075310

    Just do it! Wag mo na sabihin sa media nakikita tuloy pagka inutil mo. Sawang sawa na ang mga tao sa press release!

  • XY ZEE

    Ika nga, “Mauna ka, susunod ako”.

  • sanjuan683

    Palpak itong Abnoy administration puro kayabangan lang tuwid na daan daw eh puro smuggling ang nangyayari sa custom. Naglagay ka ng isang gunggong sa customs dahil sa anak siya congressman Biazon. Magresign ka na Biazon bago pa may mangyaring smuggling uli diyan. Forty milliones ang nawala sa taong bayan.

  • speedstream2

    Words are empty. Action speaks volumes. Let’s get it done asap. Success can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but only if one places everything on the line.

  • desi derata

    I am not sure what should I call this mental attitude or character trait of the Filipinos that they exhibit when they call for the resignation or booting out of the head of the agency when news of impropriety in that agency comes out.

    I have lived for several decades and my observation is, when the President is bad, the people are not too restless except the few who were really born heroes and leaders.

    During marcos regime, almost all of the entire populace of Metro Manila were tamed and have accepted their fate – hoping blindly that somehow, sometime, someone would come to take the lead or to be sacrificed for the greater good. Several bogus elections were held while Senator Aquino was in solitary confinement in Fort Magsaysay. I was told by my uncle that at around 7:00PM, we should make noise by either clanking old laundry basin or some bells. The first time it was relatively successful, the 2nd time was a total dud.

    The smuggling into the country has been very bad during marcos martial law regime. Benedicto imported sugar to the detriment of planters particularly in Negros provinces. It run for several years and in 1986, it was only the time when pictures of emaciated babies and ultra-thin men and women reached the pages of the newspaper.

    Ongpin (yes, the same Roberto Ongpin) had his Binondo Central Bank which creamed off the top of the OCW’s dollar remittances. He had the OCWs shortchanged for a long time.He is the exact opposite of the good Ongpin.

    Before marcos, the Philippines was having adequate harvest of rice. When Virata brothers, Tanco,Tanchanco, et al came, it seemed that there was a signal for the gate to be torn down, as if the Chinese businessmen were in exact cadence started flooding Manila with cheap rice. It was meant to kill the local rice supply. Poor families started to change their buying habit, from “ganta” to kilogram basis.Tanco even used the radio pushing for the mechanization of rice farming (read: buy “Lakas Kuliglig” and do away with the carabaos).

    And then came gloria who exhibited her innate genius and even threatened to surpass marcos propensity of doing bad things with authority. Her husband re-christened to Pidal, the son frequently went in and out of the States, which we later came to know that he made property purchases from the proceeds of a paper corporation. The military generals became millionaires, the cabinet members became part-time magicians, “now you see it, now you don’t” while handling billions of pesos for some provisioning of invisible goods and materials..

    And I can cite a lot more. But what I am trying to emphasize is that, being too French-like, guillotine-is-the-answer type of people is not good. Biazon is better than the previous ones in the Customs. Hence let us support him by exposing the shenanigans in the Customs. Someone even posted asking for the resignation of Sec Purisima. If they can prove that the smuggling of petroleum products started when this government was inaugurated, then I will join the clamor for their resignation and replacement.

    No chief of any office can be successful in cleansing that office if the regular,plantilla-position employees would not cooperate. And the smugglers themselves will be bold and more greedy because the people’s solution to the problem is the firing out of the appointed head of the Customs bureau. Is it not weird, inane or even utterly stupid?

    • marienkind

      The problem is people don’t have the big picture to see a problem as
      systemic
      – the problem is in the system. It’s a common trait for simple
      thinkers to attribute failure to a person and not the process, the
      system, or even the culture. It’s always easier to attack character than
      concepts. It’s not the fault of Filipinos. We’ve been so used to
      foreign powers building bureaucracies for us that we fail completely to
      realize that these social structures make or break any effort far more
      than just the willpower of a single person.

      Just look at the comments here. The proof is in the pudding.

  • BatangSingapore

    tama tangalin lahat ng mga empleyado ng custom pati na ikaw chief biazon hahahhahaha palusot ka pa. kala mo hindi ka sabit ha.

  • marienkind

    The problem is people don’t have the big picture to see a problem as
    systemic – the problem is in the system. It’s a common trait for simple thinkers to attribute failure to a person and not the process, the system, or even the culture. It’s always easier to attack character than concepts. It’s not the fault of Filipinos. We’ve been so used to foreign powers building bureaucracies for us that we fail completely to realize that these social structures make or break any effort far more than just the willpower of a single person.

    Just look at the comments here. The proof is in the pudding.

  • Juan Delacruz

    Biazon: Complete overhaul of customs bureau needed and PNP, DoE, congress. and judiciary.

  • dani77777

    Com. Biazon, you will make a lot of enemies when you do that. These deep pocketed devils are also deep seated. Nonetheless, many will also back you up. Just do what is right. May your conscience guide you.
    Bayan dakila pa rin ang lahing Pilipino, puwera ang mga magnanakaw. Dami diyan sa BOC; kahit na entry level na clerk ang “galling” na. Ang galling nang magnakaw.

  • victor casquejo

    I agree with Ruffy Biazon,this bureau needs reconstruction.The climate of corruption is so deeply rooted,that revamp will be just another futile effort.Voracious individuals are surely enjoying their pernicious trade unabated.I could just imagine the magnitude of this enigma,maybe it’s like peeking inside a kaleidescope.

  • jeff tapaoan

    Corruption is deep-rooted in the Bureau of Customs. Even if the Commissioner exerts his best effort, it will only scratch the surface. He can only go too far. Long after he’s gone, long after he accepts the clamor for him to resign, Customs is still there, corruption will always be there. The voices of the few who wants a clean Customs is drowned by the many who wants nothing but all. After all, they’re in the office for their gain not for the government’s gain. If government is planning on a major revamp, start in one area, focus on that and am sure they will see results.

    • superpilipinas

      Yes it is deep rooted. Biazon was never and will never be fit for the job.

      The job requires a person coming from outside BoC and strong enough to revamp from day 1. A person who can sleep soundly even with death threats coming every day or assasination attempts that will naturally come with strong reform.

      The problem is PNoy. He was the one who appointed Biazon which means he doesn’t understand who the right person should be.

      Revamp will not work, even if focused, if carried out internally or initiated by politicians. Get the help of experienced leaders. Like De Lima for example. Put undercover NBI agents handpicked by her. Since she has some success in the reform of Bureau of Corrections, She can have the same success with Bureau of Customs. As you have read in the news, the chief of BuCorr appointed by PNoy was forced to resign amid the corruption allegations due to her actions. That’s a good sign. She will also try her best to maintain her reputation.

  • noypisiTED

    Commissioner you hit the bull in the eyes. Corruption is a way of life to most of those in your bureau. The true mark of a leader is admitting what ails his or her country then works to heal it regardless whether the heavens fall. Just the mere mention of Customs sucks to most people.

  • superpilipinas

    After 3 years and 120 Billion lost, he’s now saying this.

    It’s what you call “DAMAGE CONTROL”…..but only for himself and not for the benefit of the Philippines.

    I already knew the moment he was appointed by PNoy that he is not effective for BoC. It was the obvious that it was a political appointment. Now the perception is, it is more than political…there might be an ulterior motive….no one can blame you if you think they are on the take.

    PNoy will never replace strong political allies even if they are grossly incompetent. Especially if they are in money generating or draining agencies. It is also why PNoy’s administration will never get FOI to be passed into law.

    So if you truly want changes for good, don’t vote for Team PNoy. It’s just bad as UNA, LP, NP, NPC, Lakas, Kampi, PRP, LDP, PMP, etc. All mostly consisting of TraPos, Political Dynasties, incompetent showbiz/TV personalities and all self-serving and entrenching their hold of their positions.

    Vote for new independent people or new parties who stand on good principles and platform and who are proven achievers with integrity. It’s better to err with these people. If they do not perform to our expectations, we can still easily have them replace.

  • KappaPhiPhi

    why is it that smuggling increased a thousand percent during noynoy’s reign? as the other columnists would put it, the admin does not mind because it helps temper down prices.

  • superpilipinas

    If Biazon could not lead BoC effectively, he will not be able to revamp it effectively.

    Biazon is a politician and not an experienced organization leader. His “revamp” will be all talk, some action for newspapers, but no expected genuine success.

    I predict that oil smuggling will be much lesser in the next 2 years and PNoy and Biazon will try to take the credit. But the decrease is not because of them both. It is because smuggling is a hot issue now and the smugglers will try to lie low. It will again rise later since PNoy and Biazon have no idea how to fix the problem.

  • 100345roselia

    Why is Pinoy taking so long to fire Sec Purisima & BOC Biazon inspite of the on-going
    rampant smuggling of petroleum products ranging from 30 to 40 BILLION pesos. This
    smuggling is CONFIRMED by no less than County Manager Edgar Chua of Pilipinas
    Shell & CEO Ramon Ang of Petron Corp. Is it possible that the people responsible
    for this smuggling are cronies of Pinoy? Is it possible that Pinoy is politically indebted
    to these smugglers? Is it possible that a “bagman” is assigned to receive dirty money
    for & in behalf of somebody? Is it possible that Biazon “if pushed to the wall” will spill
    the beans & start naming names? Who is protecting who? If Pinoy has nothing to
    hide why is he reluctant to fire these 2 guys? It is my perception that if GMA & her
    allies are involved “Daan Matuwid” ang ipapatupad agad. Pag “KAIBIGAN ka, KABARILAN
    ka at KAKLASE ka” ni Pinoy, protectado ka via “DAAN BALUKTOT.” To my friends /user
    of internet, what’s you take? Let’s speak up.& be heard !!! Action always beats inaction.

  • hu_yu

    ok cge ruffy, simulan mo na, resign ka na

  • Lolo_Basyong

    Kung ganun pala e, bakit hindi agad ginawa? Halos tatlong taon na siyang nakaupo. Kung hindi pa nagingay ang Petron at Shell, dedma lang. Hehehehehehehe….

    • superpilipinas

      he-he-he. alam na ng lahat ang sagot.

      kala nila makakalusot. mahirap palusotin ang 40 Billion Pesos yearly lalo na kung Shell at Chevron ang kalaban.

  • Mr. Mxyzptlk

    Blaming others is a cowards cop out. The problem is that people continue to tolerate working with individuals they know are corrupt because their bosses are corrupt as well, and shall not back them up. thus, they become “infected”. No subordinate employee can ever be more honest than his immediate superior. That is the key concept, now go and unlock the door yourselves.

    • superpilipinas

      well said. some become unwilling participants just by being subordinates of the corrupt. they have no choice. in extreme cases, they could get killed by not towing the line. they could get killed by not accepting dirty money even if they do not want it.

  • spelster

    It’s not the commissioner who is at fault here. Corruption in BoC is so deeply rooted it is already a “custom” and a culture down from the janitor and security guard to the highest “permanent” officer. No commissioner can stop that coz they will just change their tactic once there is a new measure to stop their corrupt ways. The best way to eradicate this plague is to fully overhaul the system. Provide an early retirement to those senior employees and remove/change all the rest of the employees with new ones. Don’t accept new employees who are related to previous BoC employees coz they will only carry on the old ways of their predecessors. Enact a tough law that will punish these lowlifers and make sure to fully implement them.

    • hu_yu

      oh cmon, what’s worth of being a commissioner if you cannot manage nor can see the bigger picture of what is transpiring in your department? just think, 3 years in the position and only now he suggest overhauling BOC because someone prominent cried foul?

    • superpilipinas

      “No commissioner can stop…”?

      He-he-he. Then what is the use of having a commissioner? If your solution is right, then isn’t that the job of the commissioner to drive the solution? If he was not able to solve the problem in 3 years, that he failed in his responsibility.

      • spelster

        Even if he has all the solutions but all the rest are not cooperating, what can he do?! How is he gonna solve the problem if the corrupt employees do all they can to cover up their tracks/deeds?! Conniving starting from the janitor, co-employees, customers, senior officials, and the likes?! One person cannot do it if all the rest are ganging up on him.

        Let me put you in the shoes of the commissioner with the example I have provided above. What is it your going to do then?! Coz this is what’s happening in BoC right now.

  • Corrupt_Jerk

    Revamp your personnel ASAP…from top to bottom.

  • $26606290

    Duh. Ok. You seem to have defined the problem and have come up with the solution. Good for you. We knew this all along but at least you have caught up.
    Now, do you have the balls to solve this?

    How many in the BOC have you fired? How many have you put in jail or Have sent to court. Hmm has there been even one whistleblower from the BOC?

    Di mo kaya yan Chubby. Instead of plastering your mug on the BOC website, just step aside and let someone with more courage and skills take your place. Work on your senatorial aspirations elsewhere.

  • boybakal

    Di na uso ang overhaul….ang sasakyan pag luma na pinapalitan ng bago.
    Kaya yang customs palitan na rin….gawin costumes.

  • Bryan Kevin Tung

    Leche ka biazon! U were placed there kasi u r not corrupt. Trabaho mo yan. LEche ka! Dont rant! Work! Leche ka!

    • superpilipinas

      There’s no point barking at him. He doesn’t know what to do. He simply needs to be replaced.

    • $4612959

      Corrupt din yan. May dalawang bahay yan sa Ayala Alabang

  • wawa2172

    Let the BOC systems overhaul starting with Raffy ,

  • faithingabby

    Does that mean a lot of people are gonna die? Because I doubt all these crooks will just let all that money they’re stealing go away without a fight.

    • superpilipinas

      If that’s what it takes!

      That is why we need a strong and effective commissioner who can revamp and yet keep the collateral of revamping minimal.

      Many poor people are dying or resorting to committing crime to survive because the government could not provide for them. The 40 Billion Pesos lost anually could make a big difference for them.

    • D’ Equalizer

      If indeed BOC, is considering the matter – so seriously to go after
      the smugglers! They can do it “The Untouchables” way! as based on
      the famous true to life story of the untouchable – Al Capone. Real name
      Alphonse Gabriel, who is the head of a syndicate that runs illegal
      activities including smuggling in the city of Chicago in the early 1920s
      to 1931. The glory days in Al Capone’s life and illicit business ended
      up when a U.S. Agent gets in the case – seriously. Drives the nail hard
      that sent Al Capone home to jail.

      The government people can draw a lesson from the story in the west.
      If they need the idea and motivation, the Untouchables is a must see
      film…LOL

      In our country: The law comes with a teeth – if applied. The BOC and up to the Palace can execute the same. It’s only a matter how serious they are. Sabi nga’ ni
      Chavit during Erap’s impeachment – kung SINCERO ang gobyerno – kaya!

  • speaksoftlylove

    Nah, Biazon.

    Complete overhaul of the administration including you.

    That’s the best solution.

  • dodong1

    The Bureau of Customs needs not just a revamp of personnel, particularly those involved in corruption, but a “complete overhaul” or “rebuilding the agency from scratch,” Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said Thursday.

    KASAMA KA DUN SA DAPAT MA OVERHAUL…KAYA ALIS NA DYAN..

  • Noel

    It’s going to be another dog with different collar. If we want to overhaul the BOC, start with Biazon who Malacanang still says is doing a good job despite rampant corruption at the Bureau.

  • LAMBFORGOVERNOR

    Protectionism breeds the black market, no matter which market. The greater the protection the greater the black market. I would say the entire Philippine government needs to be broken down and rebuilt.

  • AntiAko

    Asus, OA tong Biazon na to ha. Kailangan daw ng total revamp eh BAKIT DI MO PA GINAGAWA YAN EH ANG TAGAL MO NA SA PUSISYON MO?!

    The gall of this incompetent administrator causing at least P40B losses to the government each year. Alis ka na dyan sa pwesto mo kung tahimik ka pag walang issue at walang ginagawa tapos ngayon ngangawa dahil ibinisto na na wala kayong silbi sa trabaho niyo.

  • bayankopdi

    Dapat yung mga matagal na duon na mahaba na ang sungay na di sumusunod sa utos ni Biazon ay ilipat na sa ibang pwesto kahit floating….kukuha ng mga bagong may pinagaraalan at yung susunod sa amo…Sa tagal kasi ng iba dyan sa BOC mahaba na sungay at puro pasaway….dapat ilipat mga matagal na dyan yung may mga kaso ay magbitiw na o kaya bilisan ang paglilitis para malinis ang PINAKARUMING DEPARTAMENTO NG GOBIERNO.

  • Pio Pusli

    the problem with our “super smart” bloggers here is they’re too smart for their own moronic idea. why don’t use your brain for once in your life? why not ask the question first and foremost: was there anY evidence that link biazon for all the corruptions? second, was the problem in BOC so endemic, a culture that evry pinoy who wants to work wants to “get rich quick”,that no amount of harvard graduates like jun palafox can fix? third, yes command responsibility is paramount, but don’t you think if Jesus H Christ is the BOC commisioner, then we all be singing HALLELUJAH?

  • batangsulpok

    Kailangan talagang palitan lahat ng tao ang customs, parang kahoy, dapat hukayin pati ugat para di na sumuloy uli dahil halos lahat na empleyado diyan ay corrupt. Saan ka naman nakakita ng ordinaryong empleyado na may kotse, bahay, nag-aaral sa private schools ang mga anak at panay ang shopping ng mga misis, sa abroad pa? Noong 1970’s ay may kapitbahay akong security guard sa customs pero kaya niya na magbayad ng mortgage, housewife ang misis pero kami ay todo kayod mag-asawa para buhayin ang pamilya, isa pa, sa village ay pag nakakita ka ng bahay na maganda ang bakod o nagpa-renovate, pag di taga-customs ay taga-BIR naman.

  • JuanTamadachi

    ” Biazon: Complete overhaul of customs bureau needed”
    Yes Mr. Commissioner the bureau needs a complete overhaul starting with you. I am one of those who believe that you have to go for the good of the bureau and the country.

  • duralex_sedlex

    The President must act now to completely overhaul and professionalized Bureau of Customs since this government agency has failed to stop graft and corruption which has been happening for so many years now. It’s not hard to assume that everyone is guilty in bureau because all of them benefited from the system. Offer early retirement to all employees or else subject them to termination. In fact there are a lot of students who have graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Customs Administration that are not working in the BOC or brokerage, If they are qualified, I think they can begin the transition in the bureau as it not hard to assume that most of them are still idealistic. The BOC shall then need to put measures to prevent graft and corruption and very strict punishment to erring employees so they can be easily removed and filed administrative and/or criminal cases. If the government can make Bureau of Customs clean with graft and corruption then they can also do it in BIR and so on with all the corrupt national government offices as well as the local government offices.

  • disqusted0fu

    Blah blah blah is all that Biazon said. A complete overhaul of the bureau means that Biazon should be included in the changes. As the customs commissioner, it is his responsibility to monitor and prevent smuggling activities, which he clearly has failed to do. Resulting to one of the highest, if not the highest value of smuggling out of all the administrations.

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