RESIGNED Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said he is open to accepting another “less controversial post” as soon as his name is cleared of the pork barrel mess.
He added that he is “definitely not” going back to the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
“I am always ready to render public service as long as there is no hindrance, especially if my name will immediately be cleared. I would prefer a post where I can have restful sleep at night,” Biazon told reporters.
Biazon filed his irrevocable resignation a few days after he was charged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for channeling his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), during his time as Muntinlupa congressman, to dubious non-government organizations controlled by Janet Lim-Napoles, the mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
On Monday, a transition of leadership and personnel will be made at the BOC, wherein Biazon will personally welcome acting Customs Chief John “Sunny” Sevilla, formerly finance Undersecretary.
Reviewing his two years in the bureau, Biazon said legislators should ensure that current customs regulations must be attuned to global regulations on tariffs and duties.
He said he finds the current customs regulations very far from the regulations being followed by other countries and “unless we make our customs laws compliant we will have difficulty in making our country competitive with other trading partners, which adopt very simplified and harmonized customs procedures.”
He said the Philippines will not be able to reap the full benefits of simplified customs tariff and procedures unless the legislators will make an earnest effort to change the outdated customs code.
He said customs must be viewed as a developmental agency unlike the very parochial system being adopted in the bureau right now.
Taking his background as a former legislator, Biazon said the customs code must be simplified to help it meets revenue goals.
He hinted that this is one reason why the bureau keeps failing to meet its collection targets all these years. “This has always been overlooked by the legislators,” he added.
The BOC also lacks the required personnel to compete with international standards and hiring has been slow because requests for augmentation, especially for field units, have remained unattended by their mother unit.
He said it would be a lot better if personnel hiring is expedited to fill up the vacant positions, which has caused difficulty and slowdown in some parts of the operations.
Recently, BOC’s Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence group Jesse Dellosa admitted that the bureau lacks a substantial number of personnel.
The hiring is further impeded by lack of funds and the bureau has just been operating within its means.
In some countries, the customs bureaus are allowed to use a portion of their collection for operation and modernization of equipment. But here, he said, the BOC is mandated to turn in all collections and savings to the national treasury.