Archive for the BOC Davao District Collector Gen. Ernesto Ruiz Aradanas Category

Sacked Davao Port Collector Aradanas not replying BOC Manila texts, calls. Where is he? Sec. Purisima sacks him for “loss of trust and confidence”

Posted in BOC Davao District Collector Gen. Ernesto Ruiz Aradanas with tags on March 20, 2016 by cha monforte

(late upload oct 18, 2014 news)

“Are Aquino-loyal yellow generals placed in the Bureau of Customs on backroom back-stabbing in turf wars for secret deals?”

The dismissed top official of the Bureau of Customs Port of Davao is not replying to texts and calls from officials in BOC Manila headquarters after he left his post Monday.

Former BOC Davao port district collector Ernesto Aradanas was sacked coming on the heels of the charge that he allegedly allowed oil smuggling in the sub-port of General Santos.

Dismissed BOC Davao Port District Collector Gen. Ernesto Ruiz Aradanas
Dismissed BOC Davao Port District Collector Gen. Ernesto Ruiz Aradanas

BOC national public information and assistance chief Charo Logarta that Aradanas had not replied to the texts messages and calls from her and other BOC Manila officials she knew who had messaged him.

In separate reports, it was known that Aradanas was dismissed from service last Oct. 1 but he only received the termination order in BOC Davao last Monday, Oct. 13.

It was Department of Finance (DoF) Sec. Cesar Purisima who ordered his removal via BOC Commissioner John Sevilla who mailed the dismissal order that the secretary signed last Oct 1 “on the ground of loss of trust and confidence.”

“(B)ased on reasons previously made known to you during your meeting with the Commissioner of Customs (Sevilla), we would like to formally notify you of the expiration of your term of service with this department (DoF) on the ground of loss of trust and confidence. This shall be effective immediately upon receipt hereof,” Purisima said.

Aradanas, a brigadier general, assumed as BOC Davao district collector last Feb. 3, 2014.

Thus, he just served in the post for 8 months and 10 days, making BOC Davao to have a throwback to several episodes of having shifting OIC collectors and even headless last year during the shakeups for reforms highlighted by the resignation of then Commisioner Ruffy Biazon.

He is the fifth district collector designated in eight months’ time when the BOC became shaky due to reform moves that triggered personnel transfers and reshuffles following the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) where the BOC was castigated for the continued rampant smuggling happening in the country’s ports.

Aradanas, a member of Class ’79 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) joined the BOC after being hired as ‘Project Manager 3’ at the Office of Revenue Agency Modernization (ORAM) at the DOF.

He is known to be a member of Aquino-loyal yellow generals who were placed in the corruption-hounded customs bureau.

With Aradanas’ departure from a plum post in Davao, “are Aquino-loyal yellow generals placed in the Bureau of Customs on backroom back-stabbing for turf wars in secret deals?” asked a source long transacting with the BOC Davao .

A broker interviewed said on the condition of anonymity that “Aradanas and his men” have been so strict with the transacting brokers and shippers while “there always a legal reason or ground to use to deny or to disapprove our papers with the so many customs laws and orders  we have to comply.”

Logata said in phone interview that as far as she knew Aradanas is “still in Davao wrapping up things.”

Logarta said that Commissioner John Sevilla directed BOC Davao administration-operation head Atty. Dante Maranan to be the OIC district collector of the Davao Port, which covers the sub-ports in General Santos City, Mati City and Parang, Maguindanao.

Insinuations swirled that he dilly-dallied in issuing the tougher Writ of Seizure and Detention (WSD) on the smuggled oil shipment of 260,000 liters that arrived in Gensan sub-port first week last September.

On the next day, Tuesday Aradanas issued his press statement explaining his actions on the issue and made parting swipe at superiors for terminating him without due process.

He stressed he did not resign and asked for impartial probe.

The first report received by BOC Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Jessie Dellosa said that the shipment arrived in the sub-port Sept. 6, but in Aradanas subsequent probe it arrived Sept. 4.

Aradanas in his press statement said that he “was only informed about the oil shipment, sometime on 09 September 2014.”

It was then was the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) “was already asking who within the Bureau of Customs (BOC) should take custody of the said shipment including the vessel and the truck,” he added.

It was a composite team of the PCG and Dellosa’s Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS) team that apprehended the shipment in Gensan sub-port.

Aradanas said that “there was no written authority/request from the BOC to the PCG regarding this operation or the very least, notice from the District Collector of Davao.”

The shipment was already lacking of 163,000 liters when Aradanas made his hold order following the joint PCG-CIIS operation.

So it appeared that Aradanas did not know of the shipment in 6 days, from Sept. 4 arrival to Sept 8 as it as was only Sept. 9 when he got knowledge of it as he claimed.

The shipment came from Malaysia and first entered into the country via the port of Jolo, which cleared it.

When it was already cleared the port of Jolo, the shipment’s import status was deemed terminated and it was then “shipped locally to a private port located in Tambler, General Santos before it was apprehended by the composite team,” Aradanas argued.

Earlier, there were reports received by BOC Manila intelligence office that “all sorts of merchandise are being brought into the country under the very noses of customs officials especially in areas under the jurisdiction of the Port of Davao under Coll. Ernesto Aradanas that include the sub-port of General Santos .”

A report said that there is virtually an “oil pipeline” that has been existing between Malaysia and the Philippines starting from Sabah and ending up at various ports in Mindanao, which was lately uncovered by the Customs Intelligence Group (IG).

It was revealed that smuggling has become rampant in Mindanao thru the so-called ‘Malaysia-Philippine smuggling pipeline.’

“The majority of these smuggled items are allegedly being cleared in the Port of Davao and its two subports,”the report said.

“I purposely did not inform Coll. Aradanas about the operation so I can ‘validate’ the report independently and it turned out to be true,” former AFP chief of staff Dellosa said.

BOC Manila CIIS officials earlier said that amid Aradanas’ dilly-dallying of his WSD unscrupulous persons succeeded in spiriting out the content of M/T Elaine even as Dellosa said that pressures were mounted by the shipment assignee to the apprehending composite team to release the shipment.

There was a report received by Dellosa that all the gasoline was already gone.

A report said that when the information was received by BOC Manila, Sevilla then twice called up Aradanas to issue a WSD on the shipment but the latter cannot be reached for unknown reason.

Aradanas, however, issued an AO (alert order) so the BOC can legally hold the shipment for further examination and investigation.

Aradanas’ spokesperson Fatima Espino of BOC Davao debunked the report that all the gasoline “was all gone”, saying that there are still “around 97,000 liters (that) remain in the vessel prior the issuance of the WSD.”

Aradanas only issued the WSD on the shipment last Sept. 22,  or 18 days after it arrived Sept. 4.

In Aradanas’ chronology issued to this reporter last Thursday,  he said that on Sept. 12 Sevilla called him up to issue a WSD against the shipment. On that day also he motored to Gensan sub-port to personally look into it and issued an alert order on the same day.

Aradanas said that after the alert order he subsequently made 100% examination on the subject shipment, conducted more probe, asked for comments and recommendations from Zamboanga port, and an expert opinion from Dept. of Energy from laboratory test made on oil’s sample, and asked recommendation for WSD from CIIS Davao.

“On 23 September 2014 WSD no. 50-2014 was issued against the shipment of premium gasoline, the local vessel M/T Elaine and the Lorry Truck carrying the discharged petroleum gas for violation of Section 2503 and Section 2530 of TCCP,” Aradanas said.

But when the WSD came, it was already pilfered. Investigation is still going on where the pilfered gasoline went to. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

Thoughts of a General in BOC Davao

Posted in BOC Davao District Collector Gen. Ernesto Ruiz Aradanas with tags on May 16, 2014 by cha monforte

mar 13-19, 2014

By Cha Monforte, Rural Urban News

It seems military generals placed by President PNoy in the Bureau of Customs are in for big surgical operations. 
They have not parachuted to fill up the juicy customs posts like the district collector. They’re in for a big project- to reboot the Customs after for decades it has been tarnished by massive corruption.

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BOC Davao District Collector General Ernesto Ruiz Aradanas (RUN photo)

Well, for the uninitiated, the current “Uproot Corruption, Reboot Customs” Reform Project declared this as the rationale-objective: “A long history of backroom deals, institutionalized theft, and impunity has made the Bureau of Customs one of the most prominent faces of corruption in government. That is beginning to change.

Drastic shifts in leadership personnel, and processes are already taking place, as a result of the administration’s comprehensive reform agenda. Our aim: to revitalize the bureaucracy, to uproot the culture of corruption, and to jump-start a virtuous cycle of integrity and true public service in the BOC”.

Last February 3 retired Brigadier General Ernesto Ruiz Aradanas assumed the post as the district collector of the BOC Port of Davao that has jurisdiction over two ports in Davao City and the sub-ports of General Santos City (Dadiangas), Mati in Davao Oriental and Parang, Maguindanao.

Last Friday the BOC Davao compound was different- haosiao brokers on the rush were no longer swarming over. BOC personnel were on their top-up uniforms and people engaging complied with the dress code imposed by the general- collector.

The BOC compound is neat and clean since that week when General Aradanas had his management style started to sway the BOC Davao for good.

The General in BOC Davao has already met twice the Davao media in two formal press conferences. The first was last Feb. 18 at the BOC compound grounds. And the second was last Wednesday, March 12 at the BOC annex building’s viewdeck.

From the two press conferences, the Rural Urban News noted of the General’s school of thoughts, views, insights and policies on how he would steer the BOC Port of Davao which collects at least P30 million a day.

For his first month in the post, February 2014, the BOC Port of Davao registered cash collection of P605,181,676.40, up by 4.4 percent of its target collection of P579,402,000. For the past five years, the BOC 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.

But the general obviously looks up for more collection, far so high from its annual target assigned by the BOC national headquarters in Manila.

And here are his thoughts on various issues relating and affecting BOC:
During the 2nd press conference: 
Asked if he could finally stop smuggling at customs, General Aradanas bluntly said “No!”
He laboured to add: “It can’t happen overnight. This would take years. Swertihin na tayo if we can stop it in five years’ time.”
He pointed out that the problem is a complex one that needs participation of all stakeholders involved and dealing with the customs, inside and outside.
He added there is an “internal audience” that must be considered in the current reform moves but “once society will not confirm these, it will take us a long time. This is the reality if we allow ourselves for the things in time to change.”
He also defined tara as the amount that does not go to the government.
He said that a long time ago tara technically meant taxes and duties given to the government and through the years it had changed in meaning, which means the “extra money” that goes to “collection outside.”
(Others dealing with customs said that tara evolved to be a bribe money for under-the-table deals given out of seeking approval from corrupt customs officials for special treatment such as undervaluing of shipment, non- or misdeclaration. This results to technical smuggling and loss of government revenues).
Aradanas vowed to make “radical innovation” that the other side of stakeholders like the brokers of importers and exporters will pay to the government and “no more extra money to be given to collection outside”.
“It’s not an easy job. It’s a job to be done by all of us,” he told reporters.

During the 1st press conference:
On corruption at BOC: He said that they have “to basically address the problem”. There’s a perception on that, and there’s a need “to rectify in the context of Manila level.” There are people in the customs who “want to do good” but the “problem is complicated and complex” that “sometimes they deviate from..”. “The present personnel of BOC Davao have committed to support Commissioner John Sevilla. Within that context we have to improve the customs. We need to be open for cooperation with other agencies, and to protect our borders. And basically improve the organization. We need cooperation with the BOC Manila and the stakeholders in the port of Davao.”
“A long time ago a lot of people want to influence how the customs would be run. The President wants to remove these people outside of our actions, who are trying to influence…the reason why we removed the lines. …A big big truly welcome development is that we are no longer beholden to anybody.”
“We are trying to remove the Friday habit… to stop those collecting informally or those spreading the sunshine, the culture. In my opinion, there is an entourage syndrome that is happening at customs…. which destroyed the plantilla positions and gave way to informal cash flow”.
He said that in the past whenever customs officials were transferred to new assignments, they carried with them an entourage of their men who dealt with the informal cash flow. 
He added that the BOC has 200 plus itemized plantilla positions but only 50 percent had been filled up. He hinted that the unfilled-up posts were filled in by haosiao personnel. “In 2008 they (customs officials then) did not implement the rationalization program, that included filling up the plantilla positions… which encouraged the problem.”
“Many collectors are acting, and so with personnel down the line.” “Now we have a lot of vacant positions… like in BOC Davao, where the post of legal division is not filled up when I arrived. Also, the CDRC is not functional.”
“There’s a pending bill in Congress to reorganize customs” that would raise salaries. Officials have been seeing that there’s a lot of malpractices going on in the customs. The perception is that the customs personnel “ay gutom na, may maliit na sahod, na nasa isang room na punong-puno ng pera. Pag walang nakakita, walang CCTV, kukuha yan ng maliit…. The bill is still under study.”
As to the Friday habit: “It’s the most important day… where there’s informal collection which is being distributed. In the two weeks that I am here, we are now trying to discourage, eliminate that. We are trying to identify the real stakeholders. They have to adjust with our new system, with our dress code.”
Before reporters, he vowed he would implement a no-smuggling, no-fixer, no haosiao broker, no tara policy.
Tara refers to the bribe money given to Customs officials and personnel by those who wanted to make undue external interventions to BOC.
“We do not tolerate smuggling in this port and we will endeavour to cub misdeclarations, which is technical smuggling also, while increasing valuations in accordance to the approved reference values. We will perform our function to ultimately curb illicit trade and all forms of Customs fraud. We intend to make the Port of Davao as one of the best Ports in the country,” Aradanas declared.
Before reporters, he swore that in the two weeks’ time since he assumed office he came to know that “there are more good people” in his port of assignment that reflects “beyond perception” on the bureau being seen as one of the most corrupt in the government.
In the following Monday,Feb. 24, Aradanas celebrated his birthday at the BOC Davao grounds tendering a simple boodle fight dinner for his personnel. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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Who is General Aradanas?
General and Collector Ernesto Ruiz Aradanas is among of the at least eight retired military and police generals who took over the plum posts of BOC officials who were transferred to the so-called “freezer” – the Customs Policy Research Office (CPRO) under the Dept. of Finance.
Aradanas told reporters in a press conference that in December last year he was asked by “some people in BOC if I can help (BOC).
In January he joined DOF from his post as the executive vice president of the National Defense College.
He has a stint serving in various capacities as a military officer in Jolo, Sulu, and the provinces of Surigao, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat.
He was the 603rd brigade commander of the Phil. Army based in Calamansig, Sultan Kudarat before he joined the National Defense College (NDC).
Prior his NDC’s stint starting in 2010, Aradanas was with the Strategic Studies Division in Camp Aguinaldo.
He was born in Cebu. His father is from Pangasinan and his mother is from Cebu.
He is the fifth district collector designated in eight months’ time when the BOC became shaky due to reform moves that triggered personnel transfers and reshuffles following the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) where the BOC was castigated for the continued rampant smuggling happening in the country’s ports. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)