Biazon says tweet on Yolanda relief ‘maliciously edited’
MANILA, Philippines — Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon has slammed a netizen whom he said “maliciously edited” his Twitter account advisory on foreign donations for victims of supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name Haiyan).
Biazon last week posted the following on Twitter: “When sending relief from abroad, consign to (the Department of Social Welfare and Development) or any DSWD-accredited organization, and label them with Typhoon Yolanda relief.”
Netizen @rhocsan, however, altered the BOC head’s message, saying “When sending relief from abroad, consign to Sen. (Ramon) Bong Revilla Jr., Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.” All three legislators have been linked to the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
Biazon pointed out “this @rhocsan has maliciously edited my advisory on sending relief.”
“Please disregard his tweet,” he advised.
He also wrote that foreign donors “may choose other charitable organizations as long as they are DSWD-accredited”
“The Red Cross is a DSWD-accredited organization,” he said, noting donations coursed through the private institution “won’t be taxed.”
Asked by netizen Mike Ramos if the Department of Finance-attached agency could “facilitate the relocation of unused container vans (belonging to private trading firms) to the (typhoon) victims to serve as temporary shelters,” Biazon said “it will be the discretion of the owners of the container vans.”
But the BOC “can endorse a request,” he said.
Replying to another netizen, the Customs chief said “Customs personnel are committed to process relief goods properly.”
Last week, the bureau issued an advisory on Customs duty exemption of foreign donations to typhoon victims.
“Donated relief goods are exempted from import duties provided they are properly consigned to DSWD or any DSWD-accredited organization. In addition, the exemption is granted through a documentation and recording process,” it said.
It explained “it is the mandate of the BOC to record all items imported into the Philippines. For this purpose, we have set up One-stop Shops (at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the ports of Tacloban and Cebu) to expeditiously process importations of donated relief goods and equipment for the calamity response operations.”
Meanwhile, the bureau plans to release P16.5 million worth of smuggled Chinese apples and other agricultural products it confiscated earlier at the Port of Manila.
Customs Deputy Commissioner for Revenue Collection Ma. Edita Tan said, “these seized goods will not only be of great help to the victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” but with the filing of charges (with the Department of Justice) against those involved in these smuggling attempts will make it clear to traders that we are serious in our campaign against smuggling.”
In a statement, she also said the BOC “will not allow anyone to get away with their illegal activities in the bureau…In line with the BOC’s aggressive drive against smuggling, we will be filing more cases in the days ahead and strongly pursue for convictions on these cases.”
The following firms were responsible for the illegal importation of agricultural products amounting to P16.5 million: DMT Marketing, P12.5 million worth of apples; Elusive Quality Trading, P2 million worth of Chinese onions, and Silver Glade Enterprises, P2 million worth of garlic, also from China. according to the bureau.
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