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P300-M worth of smuggled rice seized in Bulacan warehouses

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Image grabbed from Bureau of Customs Facebook

Several warehouses in Marilao Bulacan on Tuesday, September 11, were raided by Customs operatives and members of the Philippine National Police after authorities received reports that large quantities of smuggled rice are being kept inside.

An estimated 125,000 sacks of imported rice valued at P300 million were discovered inside seven warehouses located at Federal Corporation (FedCor) Compound in Barangay Ibayo, Bulacan.

Customs authorities are waiting for the parties responsible for the imported goods to present proof that payment for the duties and taxes of the smuggled rice has been made.

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Duterte clarifies: No military taking over civilian post in BOC

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (November 6) clarified that there was no formal designation nor appointment given to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) regarding their task to help cleanse the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of corruption.

“When I called in the Army to help the Bureau of Customs, there was no designation, there was no appointment and there was never an instruction for them to take over the functions of the employee,” Duterte said.

“Since I cannot investigate one per day even to determine the guilt or the innocence of everybody there, day by day, that would — that would take me almost 10 years to do that. So ang ginawa ko is just really to order them on floating status. But that was a particular order directed for chiefs of offices and section chiefs. Iyong mga assistant nila ang magta-trabaho,” he explained.

President Duterte came under fire after he ordered the military to man the BOC amid a series of controversy involving billions of pesos worth of smuggled shabu.

Critics questioned the Chief Executive for his order citing clear provisions of the law that no active military personnel shall hold any civilian position in the government.

But the President insisted that unless law and order is restored inside BOC, military presence will remain in the agency.

“Until I am satisfied that law and order is established in that area, the presence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines will be there,” he said.

“Pero ang ano ang inilagay ko naman diyan civilian. Ano ba namang problema ninyo? Civilian supremacy over the military. Are we talking of numbers here? That when you say that the civilian authority is supreme so that everyone of them must be civilian. Or if you put one military man there and a few technical men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, just see to it that everything is done properly. Anong militarization?” the President stressed.

Malacañang previously clarified that government troopers are there only to observe and to extend assistance in Customs operations.

The President met with some members of his Cabinet on Tuesday. Present in the meeting was former Customs Commissioner now TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Over 800 members denounce ties with Kadamay in Bulacan

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Members of Pinagkakaisang Mamamayan Tungo sa Kaayusan (PMTK) 

BULACAN, Philippines – More than 800 individuals in the town of Pandi have denounced their membership from the militant group Kalipunang Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay).

They formed a new group which they named Pinagkakaisang Mamamayan Tungo sa Kaayusan (PMTK) for reasons that they couldn’t tolerate Kadamay’s alleged twisted ideals.

In particular, they are opposing Kadamay’s collection of P100 to P300 fee every time they would go out on the streets to protest. They admit that they too suffered harassment and threats.

“Kapag sumama naman kami sa rally hinihingan kami ng P200 pang rally po namin tapos gutom pa kami minsan,” said PMTK vice president Lorenzo Opalsa.

“Panay hingi ng kontribusyon, magrally ng magrally. Pinapagawa sa mga miyembro kung ano-ano sinasabi, ganito mag-aral,tapos ngayon mag-aral ng mataas pa hanggang sa maging NPA ka na.  Ang NPA na po ang pinag-aaralan nila hindi na po maganda. Kaya mga tao natatakot sa kanila,” said Pandi 3 president Apolinario Jocson.

The group said the New People’s Army (NPA) were recruiting them to study and serve under the rebel group.

“Pinapapasok nila po kami ng aral,pinag-aaral po kami na mga miyembro ng aralan, para po sa komunista po.  Malakas ang loob nila. Lagi po nila kaming hinaharas, dahil alam po namin na meron pong nasa likuran nila,” added PMTK Leader Jeffrey Aris.

Kadamay denied the allegations saying they were only collecting P5.00 fees and not P100.

“Hindi totoo na kami ay naniningil ng 150, 200, 300, kada rally. Wala kaming sinisingil. Mayroon kaming butaw sa organization, five pesos,pero di nakakabayad dahil maralita nga yan,” said Kadamay leader Gloria Bea Arellano.

Arellano insists that they have never been members of the NPA.

“Hindi miyembro ng Kadamay ang NPA. Laging ikinakabit nila ito dahil kami ay progresibong organization, at kinikritic namin ang maling ginagawa ng gobyerno,” argued Arellano.

In March 2017, Kadamay illegally occupied government housing units in Pandi.

Security has been tight since then to make sure the safety of residents nearby are protected. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nestor Torres)

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Malacañang on Customs militarization: Lawlessness rampant in BOC

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

 

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang maintained that the Constitution is not violated when President Rodrigo Duterte placed the Bureau of Customs (BOC) under military control and set all employees to floating status.

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo in a press briefing Tuesday (October 30) cited Article 16, Section 5-4 of the Constitution which states: “No member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries.”

Panelo explained the President has the right to make a drastic move because “lawless elements” are already infiltrating the BOC as mentioned by President Duterte himself.

“If you can bring in hundreds of kilos of drugs, there must be some grave wrong in that area. And there is state of lawlessness there, it violates the law, it violates the Constitution. You cannot let, or you cannot let this President hostage to a particular provision without relating to previous provisions that grant him the authority as well as the obligation and the duty to serve and to protect this nation,” he said.

The President’s decision to militarize the BOC came after rampant shabu smuggling that slipped from the Customs security checking. The billion-peso shabu shipment tarnished the names of President Duterte’s two trusted men, former Commissioners Isidro Lapeña and Nicanor Faeldon.

Panelo clarified, however, that the military will only assist in the operations of the BOC but none of them will be appointed to a civilian position.

Panelo added that their presence is expected to somehow deter smuggling and corruption in the agency.

“But the President is not appointing or designating any particular member of the AFP. As we said earlier, these people will be there first to make their presence felt, to create the military presence and hopefully will intimidate those corrupt people there. Number two, to assist them,” the Presidential Spokesperson explained.

Panelo said what the BOC employees need to do now is to wait for the official memorandum coming from the President regarding the reorganization within the agency. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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