Customs chief Biazon offers resignation

by Jojo Malig, ABS-CBNNews.com

Posted at Jul 22 2013 08:06 PM | Updated as of Jul 08 2016 02:32 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Bureau of Customs (BOC) Ruffy Biazon on Monday said he offered to resign from the agency after President Benigno Aquino hammered the BOC in his 2013 State of the Nation Address. Biazon made the announcement on Twitter Monday night.

"In light of the president's statement regarding BOC, I immediately offered my resignation within minutes after the end of the speech," he said. Aquino did not accept the resignation of Biazon, a Liberal Party stalwart and former congressman of the lone district of Muntinlupa City.

"Ruffy, we both know the difficulties in the agency you are trying to reform. My confidence in you remains the same," Aquino told Biazon.

Biazon, in an interview on ANC's Business Nightly, said he offered his resignation to make way for new leadership.

Before that, he last talked to Aquino more than a month ago. "But we've been sending his office updates on BOC's reform efforts," he said.

Biazon said he expected the BOC to be mentioned in the President's SONA. "The way it was delivered, it was directed at all of us in the bureau," he added.

"There is a plan we are hatching together with Finance Secretary [Cesar] Purisima, Malacañang on major changes in Customs," Biazon said.

He said the plans are still being finalized. "It is in the offing and it will also surprise everyone as much as those statements given by President Aquino."

Biazon also discussed in detail in his blog his resignation offer that the President rejected. 

"I am thankful that the President acknowledges the difficulties in pushing for reform in BOC. Although I did not ask for this post in the first place, the opportunity to do reform in one of the most difficult agencies in government was one challenge that I readily took on," he said.

"Although as of now I remain in the post, all of these I have to absorb and process. Do I give up the fight in the name of delicadeza? Or do I stay on armed with the confidence of the president that I can do the task assigned to me?" he said.

"One thing I can say for sure. I am ready to lose the position without shedding a tear. But what I do care about is retaining my dignity, my honor and the clear conscience that I do my job faithfully, sincerely and with the best of my ability," he added.

Biazon also reposted an open letter than he wrote to BOC staff in April.

The letter contained his proposal to reform the bureau.  

"Ang layunin ay bumuo ng isang bagong hanay ng mga propesyonal na opisyal at kawani ng Customs, na may sapat at tamang kwalipikasyon, sahod at benepisyo na tutugma sa mga antas sa pribadong sektor, at may sistema ng hiring at promotion na ligtas sa political influence at intervention na batay sa qualifications, merit at performance," it said.

"Nakapaloob sa pagbuo ng bagong Aduana at mga proseso nito ang pagsulong ng computerization at automation upang mabawasan ang human intervention at exercise of discretion na sanhi ng korupsyon at kalokohan sa Aduana," Biazon said.

PNoy blasts 3 agencies

In his SONA, Aquino criticized several underperforming government agencies such as the BOC, the Bureau of Immigration, and the National Irrigation Administration.

He did not mention Biazon in particular, but lashed out at the bureau's officials and employees.

"Para namang nakikipagtagisan sa kapalpakan itong Bureau of Customs. Imbes na maningil ng tamang buwis at pigilan ang kontrabando, parang walang pakundangan ang pagpapalusot nila ng kalakal, pati na ng ilegal na droga, armas, at iba pa sa ating teritoryo," Aquino said.

"Tinataya nga po ng Department of Finance na mahigit P200 billion ang kita na dumudulas lang at hindi napupunta sa kaban ng bayan. Saan po kaya kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha ang mga kawani sa ahensyang ito?" he added.

Kulang na lang ay sabihin nilang, 'Wala akong pakialam kung mapunta sa masasamang loob ang armas; wala akong pakialam kung ilang buhay ang masira ng droga; wala akong pakialam kung habambuhay na matigang ang mga sakahan. Ang mahalaga, yumaman ako; bahala ka sa buhay mo.' Hindi maaaring ganito ang kalakaran sa pamahalaan. Kung hindi mo nagagawa ang iyong trabaho, hindi ka karapat-dapat na manatili sa pwesto," Aquino said.

"Kung matino kang kawani ng BI, ng NIA, ng Customs, o ng kahit ano pang ahensya ng gobyerno, sana makiambag ka pa lalo. Hindi sapat na yumuko sa loob ng cubicle; bahagi ng trabaho mo ang pagpigil sa mali. Nasa tama kayo, kaya’t huwag po kayong magtago; padaliin ninyo ang pagnanais kong mahanap kayo; paaangatin ko kayo nang paaangatin upang ibandila ang inyong mabuting ehemplo, at mabago na ang maling kultura sa inyong mga ahensya," he said.