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Biazon vows to carry out changes in the Bureau of Customs

MANILA, Philippines (PNA) — Newly-appointed Customs chief Rufino Biazon vowed to initiate changes in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to get rid of graft and corruption in the bureau but, at the same time, encourage businesses to thrive.

In a press conference in Malacanang after Biazon took his oath of office Friday morning, Biazon said he planned to carry out changes in the bureau particularly by altering the mindset of the Bureau of Customs employees, which is perceived by the public as tainted.

At the same time, Biazon said that while instituting reforms in the bureau, he would be fair to businesses so as to lure them in investing in the country.

“I would like to do measures that will assure stability in the conduct of business within the bureau. So ang measures ko…ang iku-consider ko rin ay kung mabubulabog ba ang negosyante. Kasi ang ayaw nating mangyari ay ang negosyante ay mag slow down sa negosyo,” he said when asked about his plans in the coming days.

In the fight against graft and corruption, Biazon said that he would plug loopholes in the existing system in the bureau because these weaknesses paved the way to corruption.

“Ang commitment ko sa Pangulo ay hanapin yang loopholes na yan at takpan, at ang gumagamit ng loophole na yan hindi lang harangin kundi habulin at ipakulong kung kakailanganin,” he said.

It’s basically a review of the system within the bureau for me to do. So it’s more on the willingness to plug the loopholes and run after those who use those loopholes,” Biazon said.

New technology will be used to track missing shipments or prevent thieves from striking, the Customs chief said, adding that they are also studying imposing duties on imports that are to be re-exported.

Biazon also said he would coordinate with the secretary of finance to go after customs officials who enriched themselves while in service and, at the same time, review the performance of all collectors in the bureau.

He also warned those who want to ask favor through him or his family, saying he would not hesitate to send them to jail.

“This battle against corruption and smuggling within the bureau is a people’s battle. Kahit anong klaseng reporma ang gawin namin sa loob ng bureau, kahit ilang tiwaling empleyado ang i-fire namin at kasuhan kung merong negosyante na pupunta sa Bureau of Customs at aabutan yung empleyado ay talagang mahihirapan tayo sa laban na ito,” he said noting that the enemy was not only corrupt officials but also corrupt businessmen.

Biazon said the President has given him twin targets — to meet the revenue target and to fight graft and corruption within the agency.

“Dalawang target yun and the public can expect me to work really hard towards those goals,” he said.

According to Biazon, the President’s order is clear: to implement the law, stay in the mandate and follow the chain of command.

Biazon also said he was happy that former general Danilo Lim was appointed as intelligence chief of the bureau, given his competence in that field and he vowed to work closely with Lim.