Customs collector ‘cleared’ Korean trash entry

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Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao said Friday the Bureau of Customs (BoC) collector who cleared the entry of more than 5,000 tons of garbage and hazardous wastes from South Korea should be suspended and investigated.

“Maling-mali itong ginawa ni Calixihan. Sa pagpirma ni Calixihan sa dokumentong iyon, dated July 19, 2018, pinayagan ni Calixihan ang pagpasok ng kargamento ng Verde Soko kahit di pa ito sumasailalim sa inspeksyon at di pa nababayaran ang mga tamang buwis. Dumating yung kargamento na mahigit 5,000 metric tons ng basura pala ang laman noong July 21, 2018,” Siao said during a hearing in Cagayan de Oro of the House committees investigating the garbage importation.

A letter from Verde Soko, the importer, and importation documents were the committees’ bases for recommending the suspension of Customs Collector Floro Calixihan.

Siao said Calixihan “acted like employee of Verde Soko, instead of being officials of the Philippine government, when they signed a letter prepared by Verde Soko days before the garbage shipment arrived.”

“There was planning and coordination in the misdeclared importation and Calixihan was part of it based on the available evidence,” Siao added.

He recommended to the House panels that Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero launch an internal investigation on Calixihan.

“Suspending Calixihan is necessary to preserve documents and contain any likely damage they have done,” Siao said.

“He must also be held responsible for the non-collection of import duties as a result of allowing the garbage shipments to be transferred out of the port without payment of the duties,” Siao said.

The Iligan City congressman also said Calixihan may have violated a host of customs and environment laws by their actions.

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