By Peter Wallace
We were transported last Friday to a different world. Whilst transport transported no one anywhere in the gridlock that was Friday night in Makati, we went to a wonderful concert at the Ayala Museum: the “Rush Hour Concert” hosted by the museum and one of Asia’s oldest (1926) symphony orchestras, the Manila Symphony Orchestra. (Why, by the way, was it called “rush hour”? The last thing you were doing was rushing. “Stalled hour” would be a better description of the reality.)
The Bureau of Customs has been a big thorn in the side of every administration. Smuggling, which the bureau is supposed to keep in check, was described as “a national calamity” in 1965, when the dictator Ferdinand Marcos began his first term. Nearly 50 years later, it has gotten worse.
By Peter Wallace
Can it be possible, just possible, that the Bureau of Customs might be heading to a real cleanup? Well, I went to a briefing conducted by Commissioner John Sevilla and all his deputies on what they intended to do.
You can look at it as Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s revenge, or as a new front in the war of attrition between the Aquino administration and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, or as another chapter in the continuing saga of still-controversial Port Irene—but the reality is, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s green light to include alleged wrongdoing at the Cagayan Export Zone Authority in the Enrile probe is only logical and necessary.
By Conrado de Quiros
What to do about smuggling? It’s something that’s been there for as long as the oldest members of this community have been on earth, and it looks nowhere near to being pushed mightily back, let alone eradicated. “We’re talking of an entire ecosystem here,” John Philip Sevilla, the new Customs chief, admits. The amounts [...]