Newsfeature: Comm. Ruffy Biazon emerging as father of customs reforms

aug 18, 2013

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

Reeling on when the Bureau of Customs is now on its lowest point after being lambasted by President Aquino in his fourth SONA as a most corrupt agency, BOC Commissioner Ruffy Biazon has no way out but to go up.
“He is the right person for the job during these trying times,” said BOC Port of Davao Office In Charge District Collector lawyer Edward James Dy Buco in an interview.
He said the officials and employees across the entire BOC organization “is now open and receptive to reforms initiated (by Biazon), and this is particularly shown in the support shown by the district collectors and sub-port collectors.”
“Commissioner Biazon has the skills, demeanour and character in responding and managing the issues raised by the President. Customs’ transformation is on its way under (his) good leadership,” Dy Buco bared.
BOC Port of Davao officials and employees were among the first to respond in supporting Biazon’s reform measures. 
The BOC Port of Davao has already submitted its reshuffling plan as earlier asked by Biazon in his directive to all ports and sub-ports nationwide.
In his visit in Davao City last August 8 when Biazon led the opening of 6 seized container vans with contrabands worth P7.2 million, BOC Davao officials and employees in written statement pledged to support to Biazon’s reform measures.
For the past five years, the BOC Port of Davao has consistently surpassed its assigned collection even as the entire Bureau of Customs and major ports in Metro Manila and other parts of the country failed to reach their target. In 2012 it collected P5.910 billion, which was ten percent over its assigned target collection of P5.378 billion.
President Aquino in his SONA last July 22 lambasted BOC for allowing smuggled items, weapons and even illegal drugs into the country, and for not properly taxing imported goods.
He said: “The Department of Finance estimates that more than P200 billion in revenue slip through our borders instead of going to our public coffers…Where do these people get the gall?”
Customs employees in Manila belonging to 3,000-member Bureau of Customs Employees Association (BOCEA) recoiled and wore black armbands early this month, protesting Aquino’s accusations as “sweeping generalizations” that only “demoralized all officers and employees of the BOC.”
But Biazon shot back, he disagreed with BOCEA, posting in his Tweeter account, “We should take it as a direct order to shape up.” 
“We in the Bureau of Customs should accept the fact that reforms are in order. My directive to BOC officers and employees: Accept the President’s SONA as a challenge to prove your worth as public servants… As I’ve always said from the very beginning of my term as commissioner, Customs reforms go beyond reshuffles and chopping off heads,” he added.
Hours following the SONA, Biazon offered to resign but it was not accepted by the President. BOC Manila top officials were shaken and district collectors made courtesy resignation as earlier asked by Biazon.
“Sustainable and institutionalized reform is not achieved by giving in to the pressure of the mob crying for blood. Focus is needed to carry out an already established plan aided by calibrated action on side issues,” Biazon once released a social media statement.
“It’s said that ignorance of the law excuses no one. So to those who think I can just fire civil service employees without going through due process as prescribed by law, you are not excused,” he said in another post.
In his recent Davao visit, he said that the reshuffling of officials in customs ports and sub-ports nationwide is continuing which “has a process” including observance of civil service laws.
Insiders in the BOC said now that Biazon’s proactive way of launching reforms of a centuries-old bureau that has long been tested to weather reforms since the presidency of President PNoy’s mother, Corazon Aquino, is sailing through port by port nationwide, making timid cows those raging bulls inside and outside who want the bureau to continue to be corrupt, with them caving in and giving way one by one and one after another each time his Christian persona passes them by.
Biazon is known a silent doer on top of his being a Sunday Bible teacher in Muntinlupa City where he served as congressman for three consecutive terms ending in 2010.
After the barrage of attacks from all fronts and when the dusts start to settle down, Commissioner Biazon is coming out a heeding good soldier of the President and appears emerging as the father of customs reforms. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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