LAST week, Bureau of Customs (BoC) commissioner, Rey Leonardo ‘Jagger’ Guerrero, accompanied by AOCG deputy commissioner, Atty. Edward James Dy Buco, were in Vientiane, Laos, for the 28TH ‘ASEAN Directors-General of Customs’ meeting.
And thanks to the generous time afforded to yours truly by Depcomm James yesterday in narrating what happened during the 2-day event, Pres. Digong and DoF Secretary Sonny Dominguez should be happy to know, thru this piece, that Comm. Jagger earned praises not only from his fellow customs commissioners in the region, but also, from top American, Korean and European officials representing the US-ASEAN Business Council, the Customs Bureau of (South) Korea and the EU Business Council, respectively.
Indeed, according to Depcomm. James, the Philippines was lauded for the firm stand it took in forcing the return of imported trash we got from Canada, Hong Kong and South Korea, with the latter’s representative even giving a public “apology” for the entry of more than 5,000 tons of Korean garbage last year with the further “promise” that this would not happen again.
(The entire shit load, err, shipload, of Korean garbage is expected to be shipped out back to where it came from by the end of this month, after the shipping out of the garbage from Canada and Hong Kong last month).
From the “mood” of the proceedings, Depcomm. James said, it is clear that other ASEAN countries, taking their cue from the Philippines, now consider the entry of garbage, mostly from the West, a “big issue” needing the collaborative effort of all its component states.
In other words, the ASEAN states just said, loud and clear, that the region is a garbage dump no more for Western garbage, yeheyy!!
“Commissioner Guerrero redeemed the Philippines during the 28th meeting of Heads of Customs here in Vientiane, Laos.
“All other member-states have nothing but respect and high regards for the Philippine Bureau of Customs.
“During the bilateral meetings with the US ASEAN Business Council, EU Business Council and the Korean Customs, all of them were impressed with the clarity and organised presentation by the commissioner (Jagger) of his 10-point agenda, policies and plans for the bureau. All of them were delighted,” Depcomm. James added thru text message to yours truly.
And if tears are welling up his eyes for this “proud moment” he experienced with Comm. Jagger, that is not a remote possibility, hehehe!
But a “prouder moment” is yet to come, so I learned, PDU30.
Again impressed (and inspired) by the Philippines’ campaign against illegal drugs, the Indonesian delegation manifested their desire to “learn” from the ‘Philippine experience.’
In other words, the communists, the “Dilawans” and their paid hacks in the local mainstream media can criticise and denounce without letup PDU30 about his strong hand approach against illegal drugs.
They can cry their hearts out, dear fellows, but for our neighbors in the region, PDU30’s approach is actually a “model” worth implementing in their own societies which are also being ravaged by the “scourge” of illegal drugs.
And speaking of illegal drugs, Comm. Jagger also recommended (and everyone present agreed) that this menace should be addressed from where it sprang from— the Golden Triangle (of which Laos, ironically, is a part of).
As Comm. Jagger puts it to me during our brief talk last Monday, putting the main responsibility of combatting illegal drug smuggling into the hands of customs authorities would not be enough.
“Even the United States and other countries are finding it hard to prevent the entry of illegal drugs into their own territories. Eh, tayo pa kaya,” he asked. Oo nga naman, hehe!
“Ang dapat gawin, pagtulungan na makontrol ito sa pinanggagalingan (it should be controlled from its source),” he stressed.
Translation, PDU30? Kahit magpalit ka ng magpalit ng customs commissioner sa tuwing may “makakalusot” na iligal na droga sa ating mga pantalan, hindi ito solusyon sa problema. Dahil ang “tunay na problema” ay wala sa BOC at sa ‘Pinas, bagkus, nasa mga “laboratoryo” sa Golden Triangle.
Now, this brings me to another point, dear readers.
“If Comm. Jagger’s proposal, which has already been “accepted” by the ASEAN customs commissioners, is to become a reality, we would need not only the help and cooperation of our ASEAN neighbours.
The more important factor, here, dear readers, is the cooperation of China whose syndicates are behind the turning of the entire Golden Triangle into a global “manufacturing hub” for illegal drugs.
Yes, Jose, “galit” ka sa China pero sa China rin tayo “lalapit” para epektibong malabanan ang problema natin sa iligal na droga. Gets mo?