As I See It

The Biazons, father and son


To mark Father’s Day, we had a famous father, Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, and his equally famous son, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, as guests at last Monday’s Kapihan sa Manila at the Diamond Hotel.

The elder Biazon is a retired general in the Philippine military and a former senator. I asked him whether he prefers to be called “General,” “Senator” or “Congressman.” He said he had spent 30 years as a soldier but only three months campaigning to become a senator, so it was obvious that he prefers “General.”

Ruffy was also a representative of Muntinlupa until President Aquino appointed him commissioner of the Bureau of Customs (BOC). The general, whose two terms as senator had ended, then sought and won his son’s seat in the House.

Biazon was asked what Ruffy was like as a child. Was he “makulit” or obedient, studious or lackadaisical? Were his grades good or bad, etc.?

The general replied that the young Ruffy was headstrong. He recalled one time when his wife and son, then not yet two years old, were visiting him at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, where he was then assigned. He took the boy on his shoulders and went for a walk through the woods of Fort Magsaysay.

It was the toddler who kept telling him where to go, what path to take, the general related. The child insisted on going through the tall cogon, away from the beaten path, out of curiosity perhaps.

In school, was Ruffy studious? What were his grades? He was a good pupil, and he got high grades, the father said.

Why is your son not a soldier like you? Did you not influence him to follow in your footsteps?

The general said he had told his three children (two boys and a girl, Ruffy the youngest) that being a soldier was no bed of roses. But he did not influence them one way or the other, and let them decide for themselves, he said.

He recalled that when his elder son told him about having applied for admission to the Philippine Military Academy, he delivered a lecture on the facts of life in the PMA and the military. “It will entail a lot of sacrifices,” he said he told his son. “You will be away from your family most of the time. As for getting rich in the military, forget it.” The son consequently changed his mind about entering the PMA and pursued another course in college.

That is why it never entered the mind of the younger son, Ruffy, to enter the military, Biazon said. Ruffy wanted to be a doctor, he said, but ended up acquiring a degree in accounting.

“Did your father not advise you on what course to take in college?” Ruffy was asked.

“No, he did not try to influence us in any way. He let us decide for ourselves,” Ruffy replied.

Was his father a strict disciplinarian, like most soldiers are? “He was a loving father,” the son said. “We missed him and he missed us. He was always stationed somewhere.”

Ruffy said that among the siblings’ happiest moments was visiting their father in camp. Biazon recalled that during the confrontation between the Enrile-Ramos rebel forces and the pro-Marcos military in 1986, he was still stationed at Fort Magsaysay. Fearing for the safety of his wife and children, he phoned home to tell them not to go out of the house.

“Imagine my surprise when I got to Camp Crame and found them all already there,” the general said.

“It was because we thought he himself was already there,” Ruffy interjected. “The radio report said he was already in Camp Crame to join the Ramos forces. We were so eager to see him.”

“How did you feel when your father was away from his family?” Ruffy was asked. He replied: “We were always worried. He was a soldier, and we were afraid something might happen to him.”

“Did you ever think about being a soldier like your father?”

“Of course, every son wants to be like his father,” Ruffy said. “But because of the loneliness that we felt all the time, I did not want that to happen to my own family. Besides, after the lecture that my father gave my elder brother, I decided that soldiering was not for me.”

With Ruffy, it was inevitable that questions would be asked about the performance of the BOC. “Why is it that although Philippine imports are increasing, the customs collection is decreasing?”

Said Ruffy: “Because while the volume of imports is increasing, more and more free trade agreements are being observed. Yes, there are more imports, but many of them are duty-free. Therefore customs duties are decreasing in spite of the increased volume of imports.”

Somebody asked about the  hao-shiaos, or fake reporters, at the BOC: “Why are there so many reporters covering customs and yet there are very few stories about customs in the media?”

Ruffy said the number of purported journalists covering customs had been trimmed down from more than 300 to about 106. “But the weeding out is continuing.”

Three hundred reporters covering just one bureau—what are they all doing out there? Did not customs officials wonder about this? Even 100 reporters covering the BOC is too much. That’s more than all the reporters covering Malacañang, Congress and the Supreme Court put together. Editors usually require each reporter to produce at least one story a day, so there should be at least 100 stories about the BOC in the media every day. So where are the stories?

Most stories concerning the BOC are about smuggling, and these are written, not by customs reporters, but by reporters covering other beats. So what are all those 100 or so BOC reporters doing there?

That’s not hard to guess. I am surprised that customs officials do not realize that and do something more drastic to curb smuggling right in the BOC’s main offices by removing the fixers masquerading as journalists.

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  • ddano

    Paging the 2-man motorcycle riders , dun kayo saBOC mag-hunting.
    Anyway Mang Neal , tapos na elections ah, bakit sige pa rin ang pagkakampanya nyo ?

  • KappaPhiPhi

    wala na ba si mr doronilla?

    • WeAry_Bat

      O nga, bihira na lang si Doro. Mas ma-take ko yung articles nya kaysa ni, sino ba yun….

    • tarikan

      Ayaw nang palabasin ng mga anak at dumudumi na sa saluwal. Pagnagsulat hindi na nya matapos ang paragraph nakakalimutan ang mga naunang sentences. He is having bouts of PMS — post matanda syndrome.

  • Weder-Weder Lang

    The Biazons father and son are like beavis and butthead.

  • Ramil Abalon

    I’m sure those reporter inside are bugos at mga runner ng mga politico….hindi kundi manghuli kundi ang kumiti…kahit sa ka pumunta na mga collecting agencies…pag may nahuling customs na nangungutong nililipat lang ng pwesto…tpos pag may ipa implement ang comissioner ayaw nila dhil mawawalan sila ng kita….dapat sa mga customs employees na yan lalo na ang matatanda ay papalitan na upang maging flexible sa lahat ng pagbabago at upang maibsan ang magnanakaw or kurakot sa customs…at isa na dyan yung reporter na mga supporter ang mga customs employees and officers

  • Fulpol

    I’m not sure if Neal Cruz is an advertising agent masquerading as journalist..

    • JuanTamadachi

      Good one Fulps.

  • acidicboy

    fact of the matter is: the younger biazon is still ineffective. smuggling is still rampant and they have not even imprisoned one smuggler, and he allegedly knows who these people are.

    useless except to raise funds for the political party.

  • jack ryan

    “You will be away from your family most of the time. As for getting
    rich in the military, forget it.”….Really??? So saan nanggaling ang milyones ninyo na ginastos sa kampanya bilang senador at congresista?

  • alfred sanchez

    I am from muntinlupa and yet I dont see them doing anything here, probably giving charities to squatters which is the priorities of all politicians in the PH

  • 711sense

    Rampant smuggling ang graft and corruption continuous to flourish in BOC because of the culture of its leaders. Biazon has not done anything to curb criminality because he is busy doing media blitz and photo ops so that he can go on to run successfully for Senator in the next election. As a General, the older Biazon was part of the culture of gimme and pabaons. He is a multi-millionaire and cannot claim that all of his earnings were earned honestly and with integrity.

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