Customs Cebu office unsafe-A A +A
Thursday, March 29, 2012
MANILA -- The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has asked President Benigno Aquino III to allow the use of their old building, “Malacanang of the South” in Cebu City as their current office is not structurally safe following the recent 6.9 magnitude earthquake.
In a letter to President Aquino dated March 6, 2012, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said personnel of the BOC-Port of Cebu have expressed concern over the unsteady state of the building brought about by the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Cebu on February 6, 2012.
He noted that the extensive damage on the building’s structure, interior walls, ceiling and floors have made the place, practically an unsafe building for Customs employees, industry stakeholders and other BOC clients.
“We are afraid that even only a slight tremor might cause some portions of the building to collapse. And as much as possible, we do not want to take that chance, especially if it concerns the safety of our employees and industry stakeholders,” Biazaon added.
The Cebu Customs office was relocated to a Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) warehouse at the Cebu Port area after its centuries old and historic BOC building in front of Plaza Independencia along Morga Street in Cebu was converted into the Malacanang office during former President Gloria Arroyo’s term, to serve as the President’s official residence whenever Arroyo visited the Queen city of the south.
The Malacañang sa Sugbo has remained vacant for years already.
Port of Cebu District Collector Ronnie Silvestre recently showed Deputy Commissioner Jorenz Tañada the extent of the structural damage caused by the earthquake.
“The current BOC premises now have uneven floors with some cracks on some portions of it. Its walls are likewise in similar state. I am uncertain if, God forbid, another earthquake should hit Cebu, the structure would be able to withstand it,” Tañada said.
For his part, Collector Silvestre explained that even prior to the February 6, 2012 earthquake, they already received an earlier notice from the PPA informing them of their forthcoming use of the building.
“The hurriedly done relocation of the BOC office to the PPA warehouse entailed a lot of sacrifices on our end. Before we were able to do some improvements in the old and cramped PPA warehouse, we had to endure the dark and poorly ventilated rooms and the hallways that were only good for one person,” he said.(FP/Sunnex)