1 month later, still no revamp

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Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines—It’s been a month and the vaunted revamp at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) hasn’t happened.

Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, however, is unfazed.

“It doesn’t really bother me…we don’t see any problems yet. Talks with the higher-ups are ongoing,” he said on Sunday in a phone interview.

The “ongoing talks” among Malacañang, the Department of Finance and the BOC are on reforming the bureau and improving revenue collection.

“We are in discussion about personnel reconfiguration, which is part of moves aimed at reforming the bureau,” he told the Inquirer.

Early last month, Biazon forwarded to Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima the list of port collectors who would be covered by the revamp.

At this writing, Purisima has yet to approve Biazon’s proposal.

“It’s still a waiting game,” said a Biazon aide.

Two weeks ago, Biazon announced during the Batangas port’s 56th anniversary that three of the agency’s 17 district collectors would be retained at their posts.

They are Tomas Alcid of the Batangas port, Fidel Villanueva of San Fernando, La Union, and Elvie Cruz of the Limay and Mariveles ports in Bataan.

Biazon explained that Alcid had just been designated Batangas district collector, while Villanueva and Cruz were overseeing the containerization and merger of the Limay and Mariveles ports, respectively, as the reasons for keeping them where they were.

The fate of the other collectors, including the so-called “three kings”—Rogel Gatchalian of the port of Manila, Ricardo Belmonte at the Manila International Container Port and Carlos So at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport—had yet to be known. Jerry E. Esplanada

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