Clark Customs chief clears men sans probe

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    CLARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – Even before he started investigating, the chief of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) Port of Clark has denied the reported irregularities exposed by Korean nationals disembarking at this airport.

    In a statement issued late Friday afternoon, the Customs District Collector of Clark, retired Brig. Gen. Esteban A. Castro, refuted reports of “crooked Customs men” assigned here.

    Castro, a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1979, said his personnel “were taught on professional courtesy and proper decorum whenever detailed or posted as examiners or baggage inspectors or both at the airport’s arrival area.”

    Castro said he has requested the review of the closed-circuit television recording at the Customs counter at the arrival area which is under the supervision of the Clark International
    Airport Corp. (CIAC).

    He said it was unfortunate that the time and date of the flight carrying the Koreans cited in the news report was not mentioned.

    He said “it would have been very helpful to know the flight details and the names of the Customs Examiners or Inspectors.”

    Castro said Customs personnel on duty at the airport are in uniform with their names and identification cardsclearly seen by anyone.

    He said he also talked to his men detailed at the passenger services department of this airport and they all denied the allegations or having committed any irregularities as he reiterated the Bureau of Customs’ support for the developmentof this airport.

    “The BOC is not sabotaging the development of Clark InternationalAirport,” he said.

    Castro also encouraged airline passengers to ask for an official receipt if asked to pay taxes and duties as “airport frontline people are required to issue official receipts.” Non issuance of official receipts ispunishable under existing rules, he added.

    “If there are any doubtful scenes in the CCTV tapes that would hint of under-the-table arrangements, I will have it investigated immediately and I will letyou know of the result of investigation,” Castro assured.

    Catacutan

    Meanwhile, in a tour of the Customs area here Monday guided by CIAC Vice President for Airport Operations Reynaldo Catacutan, it was discovered that no CCTV camera was installed at a room marked “BOC Office” where arriving passengers with “questionable goods” are reportedly processed.

    Catacutan said he would make representations to have a CCTV camera installed there, “for greater transparency in all operations at the airport.”

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