Biazon welcomes resignations at Customs: No problem
MANILA, Philippines—Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon on Thursday said bureau operations would not be affected by the decision of some revenue collectors to resign or avail themselves of optional retirement.
“I don’t think it will cause problems. In the first place, our ports are already being manned by officers in charge,” said Biazon.
He said the resignation or retirement of some officials would allow the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to hire new personnel.
“It opens up the item, which means we could hire or promote people,” Biazon said.
Port of Manila district collector Rogel Gatchalian, one of the so-called “Three Kings” of the BOC, tendered his irrevocable resignation Wednesday while three other collectors reportedly availed themselves of optional retirement.
Gatchalian, in his two-page resignation letter, said he decided to resign to give President Aquino a free hand in reorganizing the bureau and to prove that he was not clinging to his post. He said it was also meant to show his sincerity in supporting the President’s reform agenda.
The three other officials who reportedly availed themselves of optional retirement were Ninoy Aquino International Airport collector Carlos So, John Tan of Zamboanga and Ronnie Silvestre of Clark.
The resignation of the four district collectors came following a Manila court’s denial of their petition for a writ of preliminary injunction to stop their transfer to the Customs Policy Research Office (CPRO) at the Department of Finance.
Biazon said he respected the decision of those who opted to quit from the BOC.
“I would leave it to their discretion. I respect their decision. It is a personal choice by the collectors if they want to resign or not,” he said, adding that he would approve all applications for early retirement.
“It is their personal choice if they want to leave [government] service. I will not stop them. Maybe they think they have already served their time in the service so maybe they decided to return to the private [sector],” Biazon said.
He said earlier that the younger port collectors would most likely be kept at their present assignments until the end of the Aquino administration “unless there’s a new direction in the ongoing BOC reform program.”
“But there’s a possibility that they’ll be tapped for the reform program,” he added.
Biazon said he felt bad that some “top performing” port collectors were among those who were moved to the CPRO.
“But sometimes in the realm of reforms, there are sacrifices that have to be made,” he said.
Biazon would neither confirm nor deny that the collectors had been placed on floating status, but said that it was true the Department of Finance had started training the collectors’ replacements.
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