"Win-win solution" eyed for Malacañang sa Sugbo
- Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Philippine Star) - July 31, 2012 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Bureau of Customs and the Cebu City government can enter into a “win-win solution” so that Malacañang sa Sugbo may be used as a functional government office and at the same as a tourist attraction.

“Hindi pa tapos ang boksing. We are still appealing for reconsideration,” Bureau of Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said in a press conference yesterday after attending the 126th Founding Anniversary of BOC-Port of Cebu.

Biazon pointed out that Customs is not giving up on its intent to repossess the century-old buidling which have now become a “white elephant”.

Juan Lorenzo T. Tañada, Customs deputy commissioner for administration said that it is not economically wise to rent another building as Customs-Cebu itself has a building of its own.

“We hope that on our 127th Founding Anniversary, we will celebrate it in our own old home. We look forward of going back there,” said Tañada.

Customs Cebu district collector Ronnie Silvestre said that they have been looking for an office space where their current staff can relocate but they have found none that is suitable for the needs of their clientele.

Silvestre said that a building near their office in pier 6 is most likely suited but the monthly rental is P1 million per month aside from paying the utility bills.

Biazon said that he has not personally talked with President Benigno Aquino III on this matter as he went through the proper channel in making an appeal for BOC-Cebu to go back to its old building.

The old BOC building is owned by the bureau and it has a sentimental value since it is the second oldest BOC building in the country.

Earlier, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said that there is no question as to the ownership of the building but he wanted the building to stay as it is because of its historical value for being once used as the seat of presidency during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

But Biazon assured the mayor that the local government unit of Cebu City and BOC can work hand in hand in finding a solution on how to preserve the culture and heritage of Cebu and at the same time make it a functional place.

Rama and Biazon already wrote separate letters to President Benigno Aquino III about their respective plans on the building.

Biazon added that time is of the essence that BOC-Cebu employees must transfer to another place as they were already “driven-out” by the Cebu Ports Authority and by “nature”.

Silvestre said that they are concerned about the safety of their current building after huge cracks on its ceiling, floors and interior walls were noticed after an earthquake shook Cebu last February 6, 2012.

Silvestre added that instead of repairing the current building, which is owned by the CPA, it is best that they will transfer to Malacañang sa Sugbo, which is owned by the bureau.

BOC was forced to vacate their own building after former President Arroyo converted it to Malacañang sa Sugbo in 2004.

Meanwhile, Biazon congratulated Silvestre for a job well done as well as the personnel for their continued efforts in facilitating trade and hitting their target collection.

Biazon encouraged customs personnel to be the “salesmen of the country” by serving their clientele with a smile and facilitate better trade relations in the international business community.

Biazon also led the viewing of the confiscated personal effects from Australia which are believed to be smuggled.

A warrant of seizure and detention was already issued by Silvestre against the said shipment which contained a used Suzuki Big Bike, Yamaha Virago, TMX Dirt Bike and a speedboat amounting to an estimated P4 million. (FREEMAN)

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