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2 high-ranking BOC officials deny collecting “tara”

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

(Left-Right) BOC Deputy Commissioner Edward Dy Buco and Deputy Commissioner Natalio Ecarma III

MANILA, Philippines — The two deputy commissioners of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has denied involvement in corruption at the agency.

This is contrary to what Senator Panfilo Lacson had exposed in his privilege speech in August 2017 when he named them as among those who received “tara” from importers.

“I vehemently deny the inclusion of my office and my name,” BOC Deputy Commissioner Edward Dy Buco said.

Deputy Commissioner Natalio Ecarma III noted, “Syndicates that we are up against are deeply entrenched, well-funded, politically connected and highly influential,”

Meanwhile, during the 14th hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the corruption issue in the BOC, Senator Richard Gordon said he did not see any solid pieces of evidence against the personalities in Senator Lacson’s tara list.

‘Walang naglabas ng ebidensya (Nobody presented evidence). I wish Senator Lacson will come out,” said Gordon.

Despite this, Customs chief Isidro Lapeña will continue to investigate the corruption issue in his agency.

“The investigation is a continuing one and this will cover not just those that were revealed by Senator Lacson, also those who are doing it who were not mentioned,” Lapena said. — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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Malacañang: Congress should explain P2.4-B realignment in 2019 proposed budget

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 7th, 2018

 

MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Gloria Arroyo and other congressmen should provide clarifications concerning funds that were allegedly realigned to their districts in the House version of the 2019 proposed national budget, according to Malacañang.

This was after negative reactions surfaced from different quarters on the alleged existence of pork barrel in the 2019 proposed budget.

On Wednesday, Senator Panfilo Lacson presented a list of what he believes are inserted pork barrel funds in the P3.575 trillion budget transmitted from Congress, including billions of pesos allocated to the projects in the districts of two lawmakers.

On the other hand, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, “I think we should ask the Speaker why the allocation is that large as compared to others…the fact that some quarters are reacting, it behooves those who are involved in the realignment to respond to the protest of some elements of the society.”

However, Malacañang reiterated it is a different issue if the realignment can be justified.

The official also assured that the government will not allow any form of corruption.

“If the Speaker or whoever is involved with that realignment can justify why there is a need to place that kind of amount in a particular area and the other areas don’t need that, then that could be justified. If the other areas need that kind of money, and you’re depriving them of that, then there’s something wrong with that,” said Panelo.

Malacañang is also confident that President Duterte won’t allow the budget proposal of his administration to be used in corruption.

It is also possible for the president to veto line items in the proposed budget when necessary.

“The president can always use the veto power if he feels that there is a need for that,” said Panelo. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

 

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PACC to conduct own probe on P6.8-billion shabu smuggling in BOC

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, December 7th, 2018

One of the four magnetic scrap lifters which reportedly concealed P6.8 billion worth of shabu

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) expressed dissatisfaction over the result of the inquiry conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the P6.8 billion shabu shipment in the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Though the commission respects the Senate committee’s recommendations on the issue, PACC chairman Dante Jimenez said they will conduct their own investigation on the matter.

The PAAC will form a fact-finding committee to identify individuals responsible for the of smuggling of billions worth of illegal drugs into the country.

“Ang nakikita po namin dito kulang. Hindi kami nagmamarunong but we will exhaust all efforts, I will not allow this just like that na sarado na,” said Jimenez.

Aside from the BOC and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the PACC will also invite officials from the Philippine Coast Guard, Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Ports Authority, as well as other government agencies.

The PAAC will also tap former BOC district collector Atty. Lourdes Mangaoang to help in the investigation.

Mangaoang has previously accused former Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña of having information about the smuggling of shabu shipment concealed in several magnetic lifters.

This is why the PACC is questioning the decision of the Blue Ribbon Committee to clear Lapeña of charges.

“Actually medyo hindi ako masyadong nagulat ng na-clear si Lapeña dahil may nababalitaan na ako noon pa na pinagyayabang sa part ng nga tao ni General Lapeña na allegedly ayos na raw na nakausap na — allegedly,” said the former district collector.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard Gordon has yet to comment on the statement of the PACC. — Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

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DENR, BOC probe garbage shipment from South Korea

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, November 16th, 2018

Tons of waste shipload from South Korea | Photo courtesy to DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda

MANILA, Philippines — Officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) assured that they are now working to immediately resolve the issue on the waste shipment from Korea that was dumped in an area in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

BOC Spokesperson Atty. Erastus Sandino Austria said they are investigating responsible parties including the consignee of the said shipment.

“You have to look the entire transaction, of course, no and get the real facts so that we can hold the people responsible liable,” said Austria.

Containers with about 1,500 tons of garbage arrived last July 21 at the Mindanao Container Terminal aboard the vessel MV Affluent Ocean.

The shipload declared as ‘plastic synthetic flakes’, was said to be consigned to South Korean company Verde Soko II Industrial Corporation.

Initial findings showed that the shipment contained used batteries, dextrose tubes, and diapers.

“I think in-accurate naman po na maluwag ang Customs kaya po tayo nalulusutan ng basura. Sana naman huwag natin pabayaan yung situation na nagiging isang malaking tambakan ng basura ng ibang bansa ang bayan natin. Kaya po ito actually hinuli ng Bureau of Customs no dahil bawal ito obviously na hindi ito dapat ginagawa,” said Austria.

The BOC says the importer and other parties involved in the issue will likely face multiple charges for misdeclaration of goods and for violating environmental laws and the Customs Modernization And Tariff Act.

“I hope that in the future our stakeholders will not be complicit to committing something like this and if our own personnel are also involved in it in any way like by willful misconduct or negligence on their part to properly scrutinize these transactions. They will be held responsible and they will be held liable for this both the erring stakeholders and as well as the erring Bureau of Customs personnel,” said Custom spokesperson.

The EcoWaste Coalition has expressed dismay over the matter which comes amid the still unresolved issue of wastes from Canada that has been languishing in the country.

“Hindi pa kasi natatapos at nareresolba yung nangyari na pagtatambak dito ng Canada ng garbage. E eto na naman at mayroon na namang kasunod na mga basura mula sa mayayamang bansa na mapupunta at tinatapon dito sa atin. Hindi kami natutuwa rito lalo na at hazardous waste,” said EcoWaste Coalition coordinator Aileen Lucero.

The DENR is now looking for ways to return the shipload of waste to South Korea. — Cathy Maglalang| UNTV News & Rescue

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