BUREAU of Customs (BOC)-Port of Davao chief Anju Nereo Castigador denied “snubbing” members of Davao City Council who conducted a surprise visit to his office Monday morning.
"I was attending to a previous engagement and I did not know that they were coming," Castigador told Sun.Star Davao in an interview Tuesday morning, insisting that there was no prior notice on the visit of the councilors.
Castigador said he had several meetings Monday morning with security officials to discuss the security measures in the ports.
Six members of the City Council made a surprise visit to the office of the Customs chief Monday morning to inquire about the 40 container vans that are alleged to be containing misdeclared goods and whether the same are still in the possession of the BOC and not released to its consignee.
Councilors Nilo Abellera, Danilo Dayanghirang, Leonardo Avila III, Samuel Bangoy, Pilar Braga, and Acquarius Container Yard owner Rodolfo Reta were reportedly dismayed upon learning that Castigador was not in his office during their visit.
The inquiry stemmed from Reta's allegations that the 40 container vans contained sacks of rice but were declared to be talcum powder.
"But when I learned that they were in my office already, I told my staff to attend to them," Castigador said, adding that he was able to talk to two councilors over the phone.
The councilors requested that they be shown the 40 container vans being questioned inside the Sasa wharf.
"And we showed it to them," Castigador said. "The Bureau of Customs has completed its modernization, which includes the placing of an x-ray machine inside the wharf. We want to maximize this but there are sectors which dramatize this issue to prevent the Bureau from operating it."
Reta is the owner of the BOC accredited Designated Examination Area inside the Aquarius Container Yard, wherein examination fees are paid to the owner and not to the BOC.
Reta opposed the construction of an x-ray machine inside the Sasa wharf.