Home » Maritime » Customs chief gets backing of big business

THREE organizations last week threw their support to Customs commissioner Angelito Alvarez, amid reports he his on the way out for failing to curb smuggling.

The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMA), and Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) sent President Benigno Aquino III separate letters of support for Alvarez over the weekend.

“We are the sector most affected by smuggling, which is the reason why we are working closely not only with the BOC, but also with the Department of Justice (DOJ),” FPI president Jesus Arranza said in his letter.

“Upon the appointment and assumption of Commissioner Alvarez in the BOC, the Federation immediately experienced and found a strong ally in the said agency, which, unfortunately, was glaringly wanting in the previous BOC commissioner,” Arranza pointed out.

“On behalf of our members, I am appealing to his Excellency to (keep) Com. Alvarez as commissioner of the BOC, who is not only hard working, but is doing an excellent job.”

For its part, PSMA said Alvarez’s appointment reflects the Aquino government’s determination to stop sugar smuggling in the country.

“Though the leaders of the sugar industry have met Commissioner Alvarez only once and briefly, his statements, and more importantly, his actions impart that he meets your criteria of a government official,” PSMA president Pedro Roxas said in his letter.

“Under his watch, high-profile cases were filed with the DOJ against those found violating the Tariff and Customs Code on underdeclaration and misdeclaration. Alert orders were issued on suspicious shipments.

“We have faith that in due time Commissioner Alvarez will improve the BOC and significantly address the problem of smuggling. PSMA is, therefore, appealing that you keep him in the BOC.”

CTAP president Ruperto Bayocot in his letter to President Aquino said, “Commissioner Alvarez has been with the BOC for about a year only. The time is too short for a performer and reform-oriented public servant like Commissioner Alvarez.”

“We firmly believe that with Commissioner Alvarez at the helm of the BOC, your thrust at curbing smuggling and weeding out undesirables in government will certainly be realized.

“The Commissioner has just started the badly needed reforms in the Bureau and therefore, he should be allowed to complete the cycle of change.”

Alvarez welcomed the support. Among other organizations backing his stay at the BOC are the Port User’s Confederation, Chamber of Customs Brokers, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and sugar planters.

Rumored to replace Alvarez are former Akbayan representative and now Reproductive Health Bill advocate Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel, military official Brigadier General Gaudencio Pangilinan, former Internal Revenue chief Liwayway Vinzons Chato and Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc president Elizabeth Lee.

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