MANILA, Philippines—A “major move” is in the offing that will affect the entire Bureau of Customs, its head said on Tuesday, a day after the agency was admonished by President Benigno Aquino III during his annual address to the nation.
The move, Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon said, was on top of a revamp that the BOC plans to implement even before Aquino’s sharp rebuke against the bureau.
“Part of the plan really is a revamp, reshuffle even before the President’s statements. It’s really in the offing,” he said in a phone interview.
“In fact we are also planning a major move with the DOF (Department of Finance), BOC and even Malacañang and the plan is being prepared,” he said.
Biazon refused, however, to disclose the plan, saying it involves legal issues or even possible issuance of executive orders .
But asked how this would affect the agency, the commissioner said: “It will affect the entire bureau, the entire agency. I think it will have an impact similar to the impact of the President’s statements.”
Biazon immediately offered his resignation to the President after his speech but Aquino assured him of his continued confidence in him.
“Ruffy, we both know the difficulties in the agency you are trying to reform. My confidence in you remains the same,” the commissioner quoted the President as saying also through a text message.
Biazon said he did not offer an irrevocable resignation because he was considering the efforts that he had already made to reform the bureau.
“I took on the challenge, I did not ask for this post, the President gave it to me. But I took on the challenge because it’s a good accomplishment if I could initiate reforms here,” said the commissioner in a mix of Filipino and English.
It was the first time that a president, he said, has a clear political will to reform the BOC and Biazon said he would like to be part of this success.
“So if the President would say you can stay and continue the reforms then well and good, I will help out. But I’m still thinking if this is all worth it,” he said.
Biazon said that in his close to two years in office, he had not “become part of the system” within the bureau.
“I have not been eaten up by the system,” he said.
The problem of the bureau, he said, was not just the commissioners but the entire agency.
Biazon then reiterated his call for Congress to immediately act on key reform measures such as Customs Modernization Bill and the proposed amendments to the Tariff and Customs Code.