-Customs chief asks district collectors to leave posts, give way for revamp-
Days after his agency was publicly berated by President Benigno Aquino III, Customs chief Ruffy Biazon on Friday ordered all 17 district collectors in the country to leave their posts.
Biazon issued a two-page memorandum directing all district collectors in 17 ports and 36 subports collectors nationwide â€œto relinquish their assignments or designation in writing on or before Monday."
He said this will give him a free hand to reassign these port collectors as part of the bureau's reform efforts.
"Kung nagpa-move tayo sa collection districts ngayon, hindi ibig sabihin noon, na-solve na yung problem, but providing new leaders in these collection districts will at least give a fresh start in instituting reforms down the line," the Customs chief said.
According to the Customs website, district collectors are "in charge of collecting duties, taxes and other charges accruing to the government." They also "supervise the entrance and clearance of vessels engaged in commerce" in the country's ports.
The bureauâ€™s major ports are: Batangas, Manila International Container Port, Port of Manila, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Davao, Legaspi, Zamboanga, Cebu, Subic, Clark, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Aparri, San Fernando, Limay and Surigao.
Biazon said his directive to district collectors does not mean that these officials are the ones who promote corruption.
"'Yung district collector has enough authority to institute reforms down the line. I'm not saying it starts with them," he said.
He added that his plan to reshuffle his agency's officials is still subject to the approval of the Department of Finance, which has direct supervision over the Customs bureau.
Section 703 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines gives the Customs chief the authority to assign any of the bureau's employee to any port, service, division or office, with the approval of the Finance Secretary.
In his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, Aquino blamed Customs personnel for the rampant smuggling through the country's borders.
Shortly after Aquino's SONA, Biazon offered his resignation, but the President did not accept it.
Two others Customs officials â€” Danilo Lim and Juan Lorenzo TaÃ±ada â€” also tendered their resignations. MalacaÃ±ang, however, has yet to act on the matter. â€” with Andreo Calonzo/RSJ, GMA Newshttp://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/319298/news/nation/customs-chief-asks-district-collectors-to-leave-posts-give-way-for-revamp