Aquino asked to sack, charge erring Customs officials


President Benigno Aquino III Photo

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — The sugar industry leaders have called on President Aquino to remove from office the corrupt officials of the Bureau of Customs, instead of just giving them new assignments.

In his State of the Nation Address on July 22, the President had berated the BOC personnel over the continued smuggling of goods, including drugs and arms, into the country.

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon had announced a major revamp to be implemented in the Bureau soon. Biazon said the revamp in the BOC would cover all levels, adding it would not be influenced by politicians and other power blocks.

But Enrique Rojas, president of the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters (NFSP), said a reshuffling of the Customs collector would not benefit the sugar industry, which has been complaining of the continued entry of smuggled sugar into the country.

“We all know that most Customs collectors have been implicated in smuggling at one time or another,” Rojas pointed out.

“What PNoy (President Aquino) should do, and what NFSP has been calling for all along, is to prosecute and imprison all Customs personnel involved in smuggling and replace them with personnel who have good track record and proven integrity,” he added.

Manuel Lamata, United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines president, said he hoped Aquino would follow up on his call for BOC reforms, which in turn, would lead to the removal of corrupt officials.

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