MANILA, Philippines – Bureau of Customs chief John “Sunny” Sevilla on Thursday announced his resignation in a press conference.
Sevilla, who was appointed in his post last December 2013 after the resignation of commissioner Ruffy Biazon, said in his earlier interviews he will not allow his agency to be used as “milking cow” for politicians as May 2016 elections is nearing.
“I did my best to improve the process in Customs,” Sevilla said.
In a statement, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima thanked Commissioner Sunny Sevilla for his “dedicated service and relentless pursuit of good governance in the Bureau of Customs.”
“The numbers do not lie: as head of the Customs Reform Team, he has helped grow the Bureau’s collections by 21% year on year in 2014 versus 5% in the pre-reform period, transformed Customs to be one of the most radically open and transparent agencies in government, has made government regulation more efficient for doing business in the country, and has taken great strides to thwart graft, technical and outright smuggling by filing cases, alert orders and seizures against erring importers, brokers, and officials.
“The Bureau of Customs is the most improved national government agency in terms of revenue collection last year, thanks in no small part to the person who lead it,” Purisima said.
Purisima added he respected Sevilla’s “well-discerned decision to resign.”
“In a span of a year and half, he has shown us that what was then impossible is now possible. It is possible to hope that we can transform institutions, with uncompromising courage and integrity.”
The Bureau of Customs is under the Department of Finance.
In its previous pronouncements shortly after Sevilla was appointed commissioner, Malacanang Palace admitted that corrupt personnel existed in the Bureau of Customs, and that “given the new set of deputy commissioners and a new set of leadership through Commissioner John Philip Sevilla,” it says the public “will see some improvements in the Customs collection.”