Duterte wants brokers, examiners removed from PH Customs

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2019   •   529

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is looking to remove brokers and examiners from the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to significantly reduce corruption within the agency.

“Ang gusto ko wala nang brokers, pag may brokers, may corruption talaga yan,” Duterte told reporters on Tuesday night in Malacañang.

The president believes that if brokers and examiners are eliminated from the system, the persistent corruption in the BOC would be addressed.

“Kung gusto nilang walang corruption, tanggalin natin yung mga ano gross, wala nang examiners, sa Customs, wala ng brokers,” he said.

The Chief Executive suggested that instead of brokers, the BOC may be allowed to accredit or designate individuals or companies to arrange their shipment.

“Ang kumpanya may accreditation lang sila, sila na mismo ang magtrabaho duon,” he said.

Duterte has been lamenting the corruption in the BOC, prompting him to order a revamp and make agency leadership changes. So far, the president has appointed three BOC chiefs – first was Nicanor Faeldon, followed by Isidro Lapeña and then current chief Rey Leonado Guerrero.

The president said he would not wait for Congress to pass a law eliminating transactions with brokers.

“There are things which I have to do that Congress cannot tinker with. Those are one of them because that is to save the country from perdition,” he said.

Duterte, however, said this was just his proposal and urged BOC employees to ignore” brokers they dealt with before.

“You ignore the brokers. You go to a broker, I will not deal with you,” he said.

Following Duterte’s proposal, BOC executives met on Wednesday to discuss the drafting of a new system which will eliminate the use of brokers in the processing of shipments in the port area.

“We have been putting up (a system) right now and the initiatives along this line. We hope that it will lessen the transaction that is being done specifically that with the brokers,” said Bien Datuin of BOC Public Information and Assistance Division (PIAD). RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Lacson backs gov’t move to block release of P80-B congressional realignments

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2020

Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday revealed that at least P80 billion in congressional realignments have been withheld by President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

In a statement, Lacson said some lawmakers tried to realign at least P80 billion from the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program to their districts’ “pet projects” under the P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget.

But instead of exercising his veto power over the line items which could stall the approval of the budget, the lawmaker said Duterte decided to just block the release of the budget by way of a DBM circular now called “for later release,” which has the same effect of a veto.

“I support the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Budget and Management to withhold the release of these congressional realignments,” he said.

“This is one reason why I continue to support the leadership of President Duterte in spite of some disagreements with him over some policy issues: He has time and again displayed the strong political will, even against many self-proclaimed allies in Congress whose loyalty clearly lies where the money lies,” he added.

Lacson advised the president to “always be wary of these so-called allies” who have the propensity to praise him to high heavens and never criticize him but with self-aggrandizement and greed as their only motivation and nothing else.

The House of Representatives has yet to issue a comment on Lacson’s claim. – RRD (with details form Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

PH Bureau of Customs, Animal Industry dispose of ASF-tainted food products

Robie de Guzman   •   February 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC), together with the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), said it has completed the disposal of a shipment of food items that were tainted with African Swine Fever (ASF).

The BOC said the shipment, which included food products such as pork-chicken balls, dumplings, and roast chicken wings were disposed of using a heat-assisted method called thermolysis or thermal decomposition at the facility of Integrated Waste Management at Trece Martirez in Cavite on February 7.

The bureau said the food shipment, consigned to Dynamic M Intl Trading Inc., arrived at the Manila International Container Port (MCIP) on December 11, 2019, from China.

An alert order was issued on the container on December 17.

The shipment was initially inspected by the Customs at the Designated Examination Area in MICP and was transferred to the consignee’s warehouse at Goldkey Bldg, Toklong, Kawit, Cavite for the conduct of 100% physical examination by the interagency team.

“It was seized last January 24, 2020, after the Veterinary Quarantine Services of BAI found a sample of the pork-celery dumpling to be ASF-positive,” the BOC added.

The bureau assured that the food items were first disinfected by the BAI before these were transported to the Integrated Waste Management Facility for disposal.

PH returns third batch of waste from South Korea

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 17, 2020

The Philippines is set to return 50 containers of trash from the Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) back to South Korea within the month.

According to the Bureau of Customs (BOC), over 6,000 tons of waste from South Korea were shipped into the Philippines in 2018. They were declared plastic waste but was reported to contain mixed non-biodegradable waste.

The first shipment of re-exportation was successfully done in January 13, 2019 which included 51 containers.

“Additional batches shall be re-exported on February 16 and February 23 which shall bring the total re-exported wastes to 201 containers and shall finally rid the country of the illegally imported wastes,” MICT Port Collector John Simon said in a statement.

Simon said that once the total of 6,500 tons of trash is returned, the Philippines will still ask South Korea to pay for damages after violating the Basel Convention.

Simon also stressed that the Bureau shall remain firm in its commitment of protecting the country’s borders from the entry of any illegal shipments including wastes that are harmful to the environment.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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