Lapeña appoints 3 Customs division heads

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Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña on Tuesday designated new officials to head key divisions in the bureau in line with his reform program to get rid of misfits, enhance trade facilitation and generate more revenues.

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Lapeña ordered designated Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-National Capital Region Director Wilkins Villanueva as head of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service, PDEA Plans and Operations Service Director Gladys Rosales as head of the Import Assessment Service and Region VII PDEA Director Yogi Felimon Ruiz as chief of the Enforcement and Security Service. The three divisions were previously headed by Neil Estrella, Milo Maestrecampo and Isabelo “Butch” Tibayan, respectively.

Estrella and Maestrecampo resigned amid the congressional investigations into the smuggling of huge shabu shipments and the “tara” or payoff system at the bureau.

The PDEA will remain as the mother unit of Villanueva, Rosales and Ruiz. They are detailed at the BoC and will receive “appropriate representation and transportation allowance subject to existing budgetary, accounting and auditing rules.”

On Monday, Lapena also replaced Port of Manila (PoM) Collector Rhea Gregorio and Manila International Container Port (MICP) Collector Phillip Vincent Maronilla.

Gregorio and Maronilla were among those named by Sen. Panfilo Lacson in his privilege speech as recipients of the payoff system.

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