Abono to Biazon: Resign irrevocably

August 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

DAGUPAN CITY – The agriculture sector leaders welcomed President Aquino’s criticism of the Bureau of Customs during his State of the Nation Address, but were disappointed that the resignation of BoC commissioner Ruffy Biazon may not push through after the President expressed his confidence on the Customs head.ruffy_biazon-300x225
Rosendo So, chair of the Abono party-list group, said Biazon’s resignation should have been “irrevocable” as he was not able to stop rampant smuggling during his term.
“Biazon had vowed to revamp the BoC to remove people suspected of being behind smuggling, but after almost two years, he still has to implement revamp in the agency,” So said.
“The person who should head the BoC should be fearless especially if he has the backing of the President, as Biazon was,” he said
Biazon was handpicked by the President to head the BoC, “but if he can’t clean the agency of corruption, he is putting the President to shame.”
“His actions reflect on the President. His excuse was that there are congressmen telling him not to rock the boat at the BoC, but who should he heed, the President who appointed him or the congressmen?” So said.
He added that it was the prerogative of the President not to accept Biazon’s resignation, “but he (Biazon) should be steely in cleaning up the agency.”
Last April, the agriculture sector asked for Biazon’s head “after we waited in vain for reforms that Biazon said he will implement, but up to now, the problem of smuggling continues.”
Then, representatives of agricultural groups earlier demanded the revamp of the BoC and Biazon’s resignation “out of delicadeza for some P32 billion in foregone revenues for agricultural products and another P30 billion for oil and petroleum products in 2012.”
So said as much as 600,000 metric tons of rice worth P10 billion was smuggled into the country, while smuggled chicken and pork products reached P8 billion, fish and aquatic products P3.8 billion, sugar P4.8 billion, and onion and other vegetables P3.5 billion.
Last April, Cebu port authorities uncovered a total of 1,169 container vans of misdeclared rice shipments worth P1.2 billion from Vietnam.
“The smuggling of pork, chicken and rice have somewhat abated, but it has not stopped and may again rear its ugly head in the near future. The smugglers may only be lying low as their companies are still there,” So said.
At present, it is the onion farmers who are now complaining of smuggling of the agricultural produce, he said.
So said the agricultural sector leaders had been complaining to Biazon about rampant smuggling, giving him data about undervalued and misdeclared commodities.
“We asked that the BoC furnish a copy of the Inward Foreign Manifest (IFM) to the Department of Agriculture to check shipment of commodities to the country. Up to up, nothing has happened,” So said.
He said the IFMs contain the list of all cargoes being brought into the country, as well as the country of origin.
“These documents are crucial in determining shipments of smuggled meats and other foodstuffs. The DA needs these IFMs to check if the cargo subject of inspection conforms to the veterinary quarantine certificate (VQC) issued by the DA,” he explained.

Entry filed under: News.

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