New BOC-10 Chief Leads Destruction of P21M Vehicles

By : Jigger Jerusalem Mindanao Today/09:24:47am 07/17/2021


(Note: This news article was published in the print edition of Mindanao Today on June 21, 2021) By Jigger Jerusalem

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Just a few hours after she was installed as the new Bureau of Customs-10 (BOC-10) district collector, lawyer Elvira Cruz’s first order of business was to lead in the destruction of imported vehicles estimated to be worth P21 million Friday, June 18.

Cruz, who replaced John Simon, took her oath at the BOC-10 headquarters in Barangay Puntod, this city, around 9:00 in the morning.

After touring her new office and meeting with the BOC-10 staff and officials, Cruz then proceeded to a facility in Baloy, Barangay Tablon to initiate the condemnation of 14 used Mitsubishi Jeep units shortly after lunchtime at about 2:00 p.m, said Cris Angelo Andrade, BOC-10 information officer.

“Barely five hours into her position as collector and she went to work right away,” Andrade said in a phone interview.

According to a BOC-10 statement, the jeeps arrived in parts and components placed inside container vans at the Mindanao Container Terminal in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental on Oct. 30, 2018 from Japan, and was consigned to Galeo Equipment Corp.

“Despite the issuance of an Urgent Notice to File Entry for the subject shipment, no corresponding import entry was filed within the reglementary period required under Sec. 407 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA),” the agency said.

Consequently, an Order of Abandonment was issued on Jan. 7, 2019 against the shipment and was forfeited in favor of the government pursuant to Section 1130 of the CMTA.

“The destruction of the shipment,” Cruz said, “sends a loud and clear signal to consignees engaged in any form of irregularity that my office is serious in protecting the interest of the government and there shall be no condonation of any illegal act.”

Cruz, who used to head the BOC in Cebu City, said she will continue with the Customs commissioner’s 10-point priority plan and what Simon has started.

“There’s no back job here, since his (Simon) programs were very good. I really admire his programs so we will just continue and adopt,” she said.

Cruz considered her new post as a “fresh start” after her stint in Cebu where she figured in a controversy over her alleged involvement in the release of illegally withdrawn heavy equipment and motor vehicles from Brunei in 2018.

In light of that issue, Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero removed Cruz from her position and reassigned her to the Cebu port monitoring unit.

In April this year, the Civil Service Commission has ordered Cruz’s reinstatement as the Cebu district collector.

“Yes, it is a fresh start for me. I have learned my several lessons, but I just want to put it behind me,” she told reporters.

Meanwhile, Simon said he will be taking a one-month leave of absence after turning over the office of the district collector to Cruz.

In a previous press conference, Simon has not divulged to reporters where his next assignment will be or what post will be given to him, but that he will abide by the order from the commissioner.

“We’re like soldiers. We will go where they will tell us to go,” he said.

Simon, who was appointed as the BOC-10 district collector, was responsible for the reshipment of 7,408 metric tons of illegal waste back to South Korea in 2019 and 2020.

For that achievement, the United Nations Environment Program awarded Simon with the Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards in February this year.

Simon also received similar awards from the EcoWaste Coalition and other organizations.

During Simon’s term, BOC-10 also surpassed its annual collection target by earning P29.253 billion, with an excess of P3.415 billion, in 2020. (Jigger Jerusalem)

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