Palace disowns Customs abolition plan

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MANILA, Philippines—The idea of abolishing the Bureau of Customs was merely a “suggestion” from Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon and part of his “initial” discussions with President Aquino, Malacañang said Saturday.

Two Palace officials made this clarification on the heels of Biazon’s pronouncement that the Aquino administration was considering abolishing the graft-ridden bureau, possibly replacing it with a professional institution run by private officials and employees.

Biazon said he had discussed with the President this idea as part of a top-down cleansing at the BOC that would end smuggling and corruption in the agency once and for all.

“One concept done by other countries is a complete overhaul [of their customs departments] through abolition. We might have to do that,” Biazon said at discussion with Inquirer editors and reporters on Thursday night.

“It’s just one of many ideas being discussed to improve collections. The fact that it’s being discussed at all shows you how serious we are taking the need to improve collections, not necessarily the idea of abolition,” said Strategic Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Palace spokeswoman Abigail Valte said as much in a radio interview.

“From what I understand from Commissioner Biazon, that was one of his suggestions. But allow us to say that these discussions were initial and were just one of the many possibilities that are being discussed on how to improve Customs performance,” said Valte.

Valte also responded to Biazon’s claim of an alleged demolition job against him following calls for his resignation over massive smuggling of petroleum and agricultural products under his watch.

“The Commissioner was being asked to respond to allegations, and he just answered. It doesn’t mean that he’s not doing his job while he’s also responding to questions raised by the members of the media,” said Valte.

Asked whether Biazon was just looking for a graceful exit in making this suggestion, Valte said, “Well, again, it’s just one of the many possibilities that are being explored and are being looked into to be able to improve Customs performance.”

According to Valte, privatizing the BOC was part of wide-ranging discussions over proposals to address smuggling in the country, and “does not mean that that will be the plan.  Again, these were initial discussions and just yet one of the options that were being discussed in our effort to find ways to improve Customs performance.”

But she disagreed with a phoned in question from a reporter that Biazon’s proposal was an “implied admission” that the bureau was already a “hopeless case.”

“We have a lot of other options being looked into. And again, if you look at any system and you want to improve it, you look at the different ways that is possible to do that,” she said.

Valte said that Biazon still had the confidence of the President when she was asked if the commissioner was on his way out.

“The President has not said anything yet on losing confidence… in Commissioner Biazon,” she said.

Valte, however, begged off from discussing the ramifications of the Attrition Law, which either rewards or punishes BOC employees or officials who fail to meet their revenue targets.

“I would like to look at the law first itself, particularly, in the case of BOC. Because sometimes … there are circumstances that would lead to the easing out of a particular official, and what are the exemptions,” she said, adding:

Biazon has proposed scrapping the entire customs bureau ostensibly to get rid of all the corrupt officials and employees in the agency.

He cited the example of Peru, which, to defeat corruption and smuggling, abolished its custom department, put up a new one, adopted strict qualifications for hiring, and paid higher salaries to the new officers and employees running the new agency.

Biazon himself admitted that corruption was a deeply-entrenched malaise at Customs, so firing a few people or catching some smugglers would not solve the problem.

“Customs reform is not just about chopping off heads. The guys down there in the front lines are the ones who have the power to perpetuate these things (corruption),” Biazon said.

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  • $18209031

    Ang dameng paiklats pero malakas naman ang kita ninyo dyan .

  • patukar

    It is like abolishing 2 political party system and replace by multiparty system the result is political dynasty?

  • NEILMCNALLY

    WHY STOP THERE..MORE DEMOLITIONS NEEDED;SUPREME COURT,BI,ARMED FORCES,JUSTICE DEPT.,SENATE,PARLIAMENT,POLICE FORCES,LOCAL GOVERNMENTS,ALL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS..OH WELL..WHY NOT START COMPLETELY AFRESH..DOES THAT MEAN A REVOLUTION THEN?

  • igmat

    any move less than abolition of the bureau will not solve the problem. The proposal is very good indeed, the ball is now on the president’s court. I remember seeing rich government officials since childhood and i kept hearing “customs” or “highways” as if we have outgrown decency all together. We should do this. In fairness also to the honest workers in the bureau who can’t do anything out of fear or for any other reason, they can always reapply as long as the new system is in place.

    • mamer2

      Abolish Custom..?
      What good thing would come of it..?
      It’s like saying that “we should STOP EATING because it is SO EXPENSIVE.”

      • igmat

        the article mean abolishing the current and having a new system.It did not only say abolish because its corrupt but to have a new one. So we don’t have to “stop eating literally, because its expensive” but rather ” stop eating because its rotten”

      • mamer2

        “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” – – or..,
        as rotten.
        Abolishing the existing BOC and creating a new one with another name would be just like “..a rose”…, except it would still be rotten, if the same people running it are the same, or of the same breed.

  • BatangSingapore

    sino pa ba may pakulo niyan kundi si abnoy lang, na dahil sa buyo ng mga negosyanteng intsik.

    kapag gusto proteksyunan ni abnoy mga tauhan niya ay malinaw na pinagtatakpan niya ito kahit sablay sablay ang diskarte tulad nila llamas diba.

    mabuti na at mabuwag na yan sila biazon ng ma coup de etat naman si abnoy ng mga militar. tignan natin kung paano niya ito ihandle. hahahhahahaha.

  • $20926843

    If the inutile and autistic president in malacanang is indeed do not fully subscribe to the planned suggestion of this SOB biazon to abolish BOC, then it means that his stay in BOC is now numbered….

  • boybakal

    Palace disowns Customs Abolition Plan….

    It is funny how a simple problem cannot be solved by simple solution.
    Biazon, the commissioner suggested Abolition of the Bureau.
    Chiz the senator said systematic lifestyle check.
    Now, the Palace disowns Custom Abolition Plan.
    A case of incompetency, sign of indecisiveness, case of don’t what to do.

    Simple solution for simple problem….Don’t abolish the Bureau of Customs for there are many career personnel who will be affected, might lose their jobs and violation of security of tenure.
    Abolish the Commissioner, only one person is affected, he can afford to lose his job.
    The commissioner is at a loss on what to do despite the authority and power to institute reforms.

    He is too raw, too inexperienced, too kind, too soft in the environment of high profile business criminals.

  • boybakal

    Palace disowns Customs abolition plan….then Disown Biazon too.

  • mekeni62

    Maipakita lang na mayroon silang ginagawa pagkatapos ng mga negative issues nila. Kaniya-kaniyang diskarte naman kaya ang gulo-gulo. Umayos kayo at ayusin ang mga kurakot. Nakakasuka na.

  • MANGLUCIO

    “Biazon has proposed scrapping the entire customs bureau ostensibly to get rid of all the corrupt officials and employees in the agency.”YES DO IT……IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO KILL THE CORRUPTION WITHIN THE PRESENT BOC.

  • wawa2172

    If you can’t fix it then abolish it. That the way should be for a very corrupt agency and its head, Raffy Biazon, who floated the proposal to PNoy, seems to be in admission that the agency is just hopeless or helpless. Its officials from Raffy down are to inutile to solve the agency problem. So dapat kalusin na, abolish the agency and replace it with one with a better one. Sana hindi maging same dog with different collar lang.

  • $26606290

    “Biazon himself admitted that corruption was a deeply-entrenched malaise at Customs, so firing a few people or catching some smugglers would not solve the problem.”

    Tama ka Pre! You need to fire a lot and catch a lot. Kaya magba lot ka na!!!

  • tilney

    The best move is abolish the Bureau of Custom either by executive order by congress just like what happened to Air Transportation Office (ATO) now Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) by Congress then hiring and tenure of new employees based on private corporation with salaries same with private industries/corporation standard or higher.If not then everybody has to be asked to retire by force with the threat of having all of them investigated how they have accumulated large amount of assets which were comparable to their salaries.

  • Platypus09

    It could be a suggestion, but we believe it is an excellent idea.

    We support this and the Palace should.

  • A. H. Forrester

    P’Noy and co. Should take their cues from the public. If put to referendum the concept of abolishing the Bureau of Customs would win overwhelming support. It is the ‘key’ to eradicating corruption in the most important areas. The Philippines would have a shot at truly mending it’s woes and its finances if this gaping hole and Clubhouse of thieves was dismantled and rebuilt to modern standards eliminating carbon copies, signatures and playoffs. Modern systems are computerized and perfected to allow for checks and balances. That wouldn’t go over well with the rats at BOC. Lol.

  • sigena

    abolish tapos gawing kkk office para masaya sila

  • herecomesrusty

    They need to hire expert advisers from other countries but please not from Peru. How about customs experts from US or Singapore?

  • Datuitum

    Corruption is just a way of life among majority of Filipinos.. it’s already ingrained in our philippine culture because Filipino schools and parents seldom teaches the value of honesty , trust and honor to their kids. When these kids grew up and seek employment in both public and private sector they just become a willing victim to the corrupt system that are already in place. The abolition of a corrupt govt. office is just a temporary solution since it has a tendency to just go back to its old habit of corruption. The younger generation of Filipinos itself that needs reformation through proper education , not just to earned a school or college diploma but to become a noble honest person with dedication to public service so we may have public servants that deserves public trust !

  • Guest

    ayawin ni PNoy galitin ang mga buwaya baka lamunin siya

  • Almighty Creator

    ayaw ni PNoy galitin ang mga buwaya kasi baka lamunin siya.

  • Albert Einstien

    PNOY govt is too incompetent that it will resort to abolition of sovereign function offices……it’s like ABOLISHING TYPHOONS by issuing administrative order so that they will not come to RP territory..that is how incompetent our govt is…pnoy it is simple to solve the rampant illegal drugs, smuggling & corruption ..marcos did it during DRUG MENACE in 70’s…and all drug lords evaporated…do it NOW …JUST .LOOK for the SYNDICATES & PROTECTOR KKKs..and subject them to FIRING SQUAD OR SHAME CAMPAIGN w/ live TV coverage …EXPOSE their FACES in PUBLIC ….. there will be no CORRUPTION, SMUGGLING & ILLEGAL DRUGS ANYMORE…combine it with weekly LIFESTYLE CHECKS from janitor to COMMISSIONER in the INFECTED AGENCIES …send in the incorruptible army intelligence with an INCORRUPTIBLE with UNBLEMISHed , LOW KEY & LOW PROFILE crime buster CZAR…..FOLLOW the MONEY technique under sunshine principle….BURN them under the SUN..it is called the DAING PHENOMENON……that is the key…my FREE ADVICE pnoy……

  • Albert Einstien

    PNOY govt is too incompetent that it will resort to abolition of
    sovereign function offices……it’s like ABOLISHING TYPHOONS by
    issuing administrative order so that they will not come to RP
    territory..that is how incompetent our govt is…pnoy it is simple to
    solve the rampant illegal drugs, smuggling & corruption ..marcos did
    it during DRUG MENACE in 70’s…and all drug lords evaporated…do it
    NOW …JUST .LOOK for the SYNDICATES & PROTECTOR KKKs..and subject
    them to FIRING SQUAD OR SHAME CAMPAIGN w/ live TV coverage …EXPOSE
    their FACES in PUBLIC ….. there will be no CORRUPTION, SMUGGLING &
    ILLEGAL DRUGS ANYMORE…combine it with weekly LIFESTYLE CHECKS
    from janitor to COMMISSIONER in the INFECTED AGENCIES …send in the
    incorruptible army intelligence with an INCORRUPTIBLE with UNBLEMISHed ,
    LOW KEY & LOW PROFILE crime buster CZAR…..FOLLOW the MONEY
    technique under sunshine principle….BURN them under the SUN..it is
    called the DAING PHENOMENON……that is the key…my FREE ADVICE
    pnoy……

  • goyong inoki

    Change is something that we have to embrace. For sure only chinese are afraid of change because of stricter rules. They have been dumping garbage in our land.

  • disqusted0fu

    The PH had been losing P30-P40 million a year on oil smuggling alone, Pnoy should already have a concrete plan about this and apply it immediately. But he seems too busy just campaigning for his bets so he’d rather prolong the problem by having “initial discussions”.

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