Customs expected to deliver higher collections by yearend
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang yesterday assured the public of better performance by the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office said they expect the BOC to deliver the much-needed revenues being lost to smuggling before the end of the year. Carandang said President Aquino had announced the government’s “huge plan” to reform the bureau.
“We’re hoping that you can see the results in terms of improved Customs collection performance before the end of the year,” Carandang said.
In an interview in Roxas City on Wednesday, Aquino said the government had come out with an action plan to effectively curb smuggling in the country.
In 2011, the BOC had a collection shortfall of P55 billion and last year, P59 billion.
Asked by reporters if there was a warning or marching orders for Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon to avoid a shortfall this year, Carandang asked the public to give Biazon a chance to improve the BOC’s performance. “Commissioner Biazon is taking steps to improve the situation in Customs. Let’s give him a chance to do that. And we hope that before the end of the year, you’ll see improvements,” he said.
The President assured the public that his administration was committed to improve the services of the BOC by enhancing its anti-smuggling efforts.
Once the action plan is implemented, the President noted that the various smuggling activities in the country would be solved. He said the action plan was also aimed at cleansing the BOC of scalawags and misfits.
Biazon had been under fire again for failing to curb oil and other forms of smuggling that had been robbing the national coffers of billions in revenues.
Noy backs Biazon
But Aquino had said that Biazon still enjoys his trust and confidence. He said he still believes in the capability and dedication of Biazon to lead the BOC’s fight against smuggling.
Meanwhile, Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Francis Pangilinan also expressed support for Biazon. The two senators said they see no reason to oust Biazon because he has scored several accomplishments in the BOC. Santiago earlier hinted that the smugglers who were affected by the reforms initiated by Biazon could be behind the demolition job against the Customs chief.
Santiago added that based on her experience in the bureaucracy, around two years is needed for an official to become familiar with how things work in a department or agency. She said Biazon is now in a position to do something good for the agency so he should not be removed.
By: Aurea Calica