“Ruffy, we both know the difficulties in the agency you are trying to reform. My confidence in you remains the same,”
This was President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s reply to Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon’s text message offering his resignation only minutes later after the President’s State of the Nation Adress on Monday.
In a press briefing at the Bureau of Customs on Tuesday, Biazon said that he has no reason to get hurt over critiques thrown into the bureau but he did not also want to be identified with those “makakapal ang mukha [thick-skinned]” individuals being criticized by the President. Biazon said this prompted his resignation.
“Binabanatan ang Customs pero nagtratrabaho naman tayo. Hindi po ako kagaya ng iba kaya nung oras na yon I offered my resignation, [The Customs is being criticized although we are working. I am not like the others so at that time I offered my resignation,]”
However, the reply to his “thank you message” which included his resignation showed that the president still has confidence with Biazon’s leadership. This, according to Biazon, is enough to make him continue his service in the bureau.
“I’m still in,” Biazon affirmed in an interview, retracting his resignation and ending all speculations that he will be replaced.
After receiving much criticism from the President, Biazon still continues to sit as Customs Commissioner as he laid out what needs to be changed in his agency.
He identified modernization in policies and tariff rates, modernization in computers and facilities in his agency, as well as the “change in mindset of personnel in customs” as the changes that have to be made within the agency to improve its revenue collection and services.
In his 20 months of service in the Bureau, Biazon also assessed the performance of all departments in government. He believes that there are “still traces of hope” when it comes to reform, and there are also “second chances” for everyone who wants to bring change.
When asked whether he thinks it is the BOC-Intelligence Group headed by Deputy Commissioner Danilo Lim that the President is trying to hit, Biazon said that he wants to keep his suspicions to himself.
“Is it a fair thing to say these things? We need evidence to support these claims,” Biazon replied when asked about his intelligence group.
Reacting to the allegations that there hasn’t been any major apprehension of firearm and drug smugglers, Biazon said that he is “personally on the lookout for drug smuggling,” since he has no tolerance for drug-related crime.
He pointed out his goals as the current customs commissioner. These are:
“Putting the right people in the right place, completion of the automation system, and change in mindset in customs employees.”
These goals, he believes, is possible to achieve in his term. He hopes that “while many applauded in the President’s critique, many will also support the customs.”
As he retracts his resignation and continue his service as customs commissioner, Biazon ended with a strong and committed statement.
“I have a plan for the bureau, but my stay here is on a day to day basis. I will not shed a tear for this seat, but I will fight for what I believe in,”