No ‘militarization’ of BOC: Guerrero

MANILA — Newly-installed Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero assured that there would be no militarization of the bureau.

“Let us correct the impression that there would be a militarization of the BOC. There will be personnel from the AFP that would support the BOC but that does not mean the BOC would be taken over by the military because clearly I’m a civilian and I am the head of the agency,” Guerrero said in an interview after the turn-over ceremony on Wednesday in Port Area, Manila.

“This is not a militarization process because clearly the officers of Bureau of Customs will still be in control of operations and activities of the bureau,” the new BOC chief added.

Guerrero officially replaced Isidro Lapeña, who is now the Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The new Customs chief said he has yet to assess the situation before implementing appropriate actions on various Customs personnel.

“The President (Rodrigo Duterte) has previously given his guidance and it is now up to me to implement or operationalize the instructions. For now, everything will have to be assessed. I have to look into the situation dito sa bureau for me to find out the appropriate actions,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero said he has yet to meet Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and other government officials to discuss the transition process in the bureau.

The BOC is an attached agency of the Department of Finance.

Guerrero also expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for his trust in giving him his new task.

“I thank the president for his continued trust in my abilities to lead the bureau. Guarded by his directive to initiate reforms and cleanse the agency of corruption,” the new BOC head added.

Last week, Duterte announced the appointment of Guevarra and the transfer of Lapeña.

This came amid the controversy on the PHP6.8-billion shabu shipment that allegedly slipped out of the BOC.