Custom collector's transfer confirmed

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

THE transfer of Davao Port Customs collector Anju Nereo Castigador to Cagayan de Oro City was confirmed by a Davao Customs official on Tuesday.

The Customs official, who earlier expressed desire to turn state witness once the Senate inquiry on alleged anomalies at the Bureau of Customs (B0C) operation in Davao City starts, said Castigador was temporarily replaced by Edmundo Magdaraog, chief Customs operations officer of the Davao Port.

An emissary of BOC Commissioner Angelito Alvarez also confirmed to Sun.Star Davao that Castigador's transfer was part of his promise to find a solution to problems besetting the Davao BOC office.


The emissary, who refused to be named because he is not authorized to give statements to media, said Castigador's transfer is just one step of the process that they hope will institute reforms not just in the Davao office but with the entire agency as well.

Meanwhile, Prof. Adrian Tamayo, member of the People's Action Against Corruption (Paac) and the Centrist Democratic Movement, welcomed the relief of Castigador, though there is still much to be desired than just Castigador's transfer.

"The Paac see this as positive development but the group does not lower its turret at the bureau because reforms for transparency and accountability are still a far activity in the bureau. The public private partnership (PPP) in the format of Acquarious Container Yard designated examination area must be instituted plus a watchdog will perfectly prescribe a corrupt-free BOC," Tamayo said.

Tamayo said "Castigador is an incidence in the case, the case at point is the corruption in the BOC, which amount could have financed construction of more schools, roads, bridges, spend for reliable health services and more social services."

"While Castigador is relieved, beneficiaries and benefactors of corruption remained undisclosed waiting to wantonly crush the decency, dignity of those within the ranks to commit corruption, least, PPP model is in place," he added.

On the other hand, Fr. Bert Alejo, also a Paac member, said that "what is really important is to make the issue mainstream and make it the language of the people."

"Tayo naway maging taga-gising," Alejo said.

Watchdog Paac has been calling for reforms in the BOC Port of Davao and not merely the relief of Castigador.

Benjie Lizada of the People Power Volunteers for Reform (PPVR) said all that Paac wanted was for the designated examination area (DEA) operations at the private container yard of the ACY to continue and maintain check and balance in the Customs operations.

He said the private partnership program of the DEA operation in Davao is doing so well that the Port of Davao surpassed its collection target in 2009 and 2010.

Tamayo said had the operation of DEA inside ACY not been halted last February 26, 2010 the BOC collection would have been much greater than their actual collection last year.

He said this is because there will no longer be misdeclaration of goods and the government will get the right payment of the importers and exporters.

"It will dismantle the layer of corruption thus transparency will prevail. And there will be accountability," said Tamayo.

Lizada said if ever the ACY is again allowed to operate the DEA, a non-government organization must now be invited to participate in the monitoring and observation of the DEA operation to ensure that corruption is really lowered, if not totally eliminated, in the BOC.

"We are not after any heads here. The last thing we want is another Angie Reyes to happen. Just allow the experiment to continue but this time have a non-government organization be involved to monitor and observe the DEA operation," Lizada said.

"We are focused on correcting the system. I am sure that Castigador and other officials are also just caught in a very dishonest system," he added. (Ben O. Tesiorna)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 09, 2011.

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