Public has right to right information

THIS REFERS to the column titled, “The underperforming Faeldon” (Metro, 9/1/16), wherein columnist Ramon Tulfo attacked me without any basis.

In that column, Tulfo claimed that due to the reported huge revenue collection shortage last July, “[t]he deficit will be bigger in August when the collection reports come in.” He also mentioned that I ordered the dismissal and transfer to the Jolo port of Capt. Arnel Baylosis based on “wrong reasons,” and that I based my decision on “intrigues and stories circulating within the bureau.” Lastly, he made unverified claims about my wife and colleagues in the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

As to the revenue collection, preliminary figures from our Finance Service would actually show that collection for August has improved. While collection was P30.987 million last July, it went up to P32.653 million in August. This figure may still increase as data from other departments and ports are yet to come in.

The bureau would also like to clarify that in reporting about revenue collection targets, news articles usually make reference to targets set the previous year by the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Finance—targets that may no longer reflect current economic situations (like movement in oil market, etc.). This is why when the Bureau of Treasury said that the original July revenue collection target for the BOC was P43 billion, it showed a high P13-billion deficit.

As to Tulfo’s other claims, this we ask him: What’s your mission in writing this column? To build the country, or to destroy it? We would like to remind him that as a media personality with a huge following, he has to observe standard journalism ethics, like verifying information and getting the many sides of each story. While he has the right to free speech in his column, it has to be practiced in a responsible manner because the public has the right to correct and accurate information. And, while we at the BOC aim to promote clean and honest governance, we also expect the same traits from the people who cover and report about the agency.

We invite Tulfo to come to our office and join us in our inspections and observe other operations. We enjoin him to help us make a better Bureau of Customs.

—NICANOR E. FAELDON, commissioner, Bureau of Customs

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Editorial, September 6, 2016

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