Created under Customs Special Order No. 52-2013, the group was instructed to handle the reassignments and designations of BOC personnel in connection with Customs Personnel Order (CPO) Nos. B134-2013 and B143-2013.
CPO B 134-2013, dated Sept. 6 but distributed only on Sept. 12, ordered all customs personnel back to their mother units. CPO B 143-2013, issued Sept. 17, gave authority to next-in-rank personnel to assume positions left vacant by the implementation of the return to mother unit order.
The technical working group will be headed by deputy commissioner for Internal Administration Group Myrna Chua. Its members will be deputy commissioner for revenue collection monitor group Ma. Edita Tan, deputy commissioner for assessment and operations coordinating group Atty. Agaton Teodoro Uvero, deputy commissioner for enforcement Jessie Dellosa, deputy commissioner for Management Information System and Technology group Primo Aguas, as well as the Office of the Commissioner’s chief of staff and executive assistant.
The secretariat will consist of the director of the BOC administration office with Erlinda Lazaro, chief of the Human Resource Management Division, as member.
Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino Biazon designated key officials in the bureau to the working group as he tried to dispel media reports he was on a collision course with his immediate superior, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, who publicly rebuked him for issuing “various” CPOs without the finance chief’s approval.
Manila’s media quickly pounced on Purisima’s “very urgent” memorandum dated Oct 4 to Biazon regarding the personnel orders to insinuate that the customs chief was being treated shabbily by his boss.
The issue became muddled because the particular personnel orders issued by Biazon that were the object of Purisima’s rebuke were not identified. News reports tied up the finance chief’s memo to the issuance of CPO Nos. B134-2013 (return to mother unit order), and B189-2013 (order transferring 27 collectors to the newly created Customs Policy Research Office under the Department of Finance).
Follow-up inquiries by PortCalls, however, revealed that the “various” orders referred to by Purisima pertained to the over 80 CPOs signed and issued by Biazon to individual customs personnel assigning them to positions left vacant as a result of CPO No. B134-2013.
Some of the orders, however, created confusion because certain individuals had been given double designations.
Purisima’s memorandum noted that most of the orders Biazon issued “undermine the mandate and purpose of the CPO No. B 134-2013”. The finance secretary said the CPOs were contrary to what President Aquino said in his recent speech at before the Brotherhood of Christian Business and Professionals on Oct. 2.
In that address, Aquino said: “Together with these efforts, an order has been issued for detailed employees to return to their mother units. There will be no more security guards acting as collecting officers or warehousemen acting as examiners…”
Purisima’s memo reiterated the power of the Finance Secretary, under Section 703 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, stating that “The Commissioner of Customs may, with the approval of the Secretary of Finance, assign any employee of the Bureau of Customs…”
In his reply memorandum to Purisima dated Oct. 10, Biazon said CPO No. B-134-2013 resulted in manpower shortage or even zero personnel at several ports.
“With the interest of the transacting public and the repercussions on revenue efforts in mind, the CPOs were issued to temporarily stop the gaps caused by the sudden vacancies in personnel, especially in critical positions,” Biazon said.
Denying he was on a collision course with Purisima, Biazon also clarified the orders issued “were never intended to undermine the mandate and purpose of CPO B134-2013.” –– Roumina M. Pablo
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