SMUGGLERS: NOWHERE TO RUN, NOWHERE TO HIDE
February 21, 2023 - Tuesday 8:02 AM by Erwin Tulfo
Since President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. appointed new Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio a week ago, it appears to breath new life into the agency well-known for corruption.
Under Rubio, the Bureau of Customs (BoC) is on a roll, seizing smuggled onions and other contraband here and there.
The President was reportedly alarmed by rampant smuggling, hoarding, and manipulation of the price of onion and other agricultural commodities, necessitating the search for a new BoC chief.
PBBM did not have to look far.
President Marcos found the right man for the job right inside BoC, once a lowly employee who rose from the ranks over 21 years of unblemished service.
Rubio, who joined BoC as Special Agent 1 (entry level), is said to be equipped with extensive experience and intelligence on the intricacies of Customs operations.
He lately served as director of Port Operations Service of the Assessment and Operations Coordinating Group.
On orders of PBBM, Rubio vowed to change BoC's notoriety for corruption into a model tax revenue collection agency, hitting and surpassing its targets, and thereby uplifting the morale of employees.
On the advice of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, he will prioritize BoC digitalization to facilitate trade, investment, and make the agency modern and truly one of the best in the world.
The new Customs chief hit the ground running, mounting the lightning raids on 24 warehouses for illegally imported onions and other vegetables from China.
What seemed to be a “lack of supply” of onions was proven a hoax when 300 tons of smuggled onions were discovered in the warehouses in Tondo, Binondo, Manila, Malabon, and the Manila International Container Port.
Now Rubio at the helm, smugglers have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is said to have high expectations of Rubio being able to meet his collection targets to help the government generate funds for its Php 5.2 trillion national budget this year.
The public would expect no less of Rubio than being able to transform BoC into a bedrock of professionalism and integrity in public service.
Keeping our fingers cross
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NO TIME FOR “MARITESS”
First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos did not waste time paying attention to rumors and criticisms directed at her and her family, believed to be black propaganda.
Instead of reacting to “Maritess,” Madam Liza found time to give Malacañan a partial much-needed facelift, including some of its frequently-visited areas.
As a result, the refurbished reception rooms, conference rooms, hallways, stairways, and administrative offices.
Sleeping quarters and dining rooms for the Palace 2000 workers were also renovated.
The First Lady truly cares so much for the Palace staff that she provides them free meals, merienda, and medical assistance when needed.
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