PHILIPPINE President Benigno Aquino has appointed Finance Undersecretary John Phillip “Sunny” P. Sevilla as officer-in-charge of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) starting Dec. 9, following the irrevocable resignation of Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon.
The President’s choice of Sevilla as OIC was announced late Wednesday afternoon by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
“While it is a monumental challenge to fill the shoes left behind by Ruffy Biazon at Customs, we are in full support of the President’s decision to tap Undersecretary Sevilla for the job,” Purisima said.
Expressing his agreement with the President’s decision, Purisima noted that Sevilla’s financial expertise and track record of public service rendered him more than capable of continuing Aquino’s reform agenda for BOC, the Department of Finance (DOF)’s revenue-collecting arm.
Sevilla will step down temporarily as DOF undersecretary for the Corporate Affairs Group and Privatization, a position he has held since 2010 in the current administration.
Sevilla also served as undersecretary for privatization from 2006 to 2007.
Before serving as a DOF undersecretary, Sevilla worked as an executive director at the US investment banking giant Goldman Sachs from 2000-2004, and also covered the Philippines as an associate director and sovereign rater for credit rating agency Standard and Poor’s from 1993 to 1996.
Sevilla also served as Chief Operating Officer of Synergeia foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of public education in the Philippines.
In addition, he worked as Vice President, Fixed Income Credit Research, Salomon Smith Barney Hong Kong Ltd., Assistant Director, Credit Research, Peregrine Fixed Income Ltd., Program Officer, Department of Agrarian Reform, Republic of the Philippines
He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Economics and Government and he holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from Princeton University.
Sevilla was also instrumental in major government privatization efforts such as Philippine Telecommunications Investment Corporation (Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co); Philippine National Bank, and Food Terminal Inc. in Taguig.
“Leadership of the Bureau of Customs requires someone who is results-oriented and an expert on economics, international relations, and project implementation. These traits describe Sunny Sevilla perfectly,” Purisima noted.
“We recognize that it is our temporary loss at the DOF to see Undersecretary Sevilla go, but nevertheless, we wish him the best on this new opportunity to serve the country,” Purisima added.
Biazon was one of the second batch of individuals charged with malversation of public funds in the Ombudsman, with allegations of pocketing a P1.95-million kickback from the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam of businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles.
Aquino accepted Biazon’s irrevocable resignation on December 4.