Heads roll at SSS, MMDA and Customs

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte did not renew the appointments of Social Security System Chairman Amado Valdez and Commissioner Jose Gabriel La Viña, Malacañang said Monday.

In a separate order, Duterte appointed Jose Arturo S. Garcia Jr. as officer-in-charge general manager of the Metro Manila Development Authority, replacing Thomas Orbos, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Monday.

In a press briefing. Roque said both Valdez and La Viña had been serving in a holdover capacity since their terms expired in June 2017.

“There is no reason for extending their terms. It’s a presidential prerogative not to extend their terms,” Roque said. 

The SSS had earlier sought President Duterte’s approval of an executive order to raise the contribution rate from 11 percent to 14 percent, of which the bigger amount equivalent to 8.87 percent will be shouldered by the employer.

Valdez, a former dean of the University of the East, was appointed by the President in October 2016, while La Viña was Duterte’s campaign social media head.

In December, Garcia came under fire for joking that journalists who would write negative stories about the agency would become the subject of “tokhang,” a campaign being enforced by the government against suspected drug dealers and dependents.

He also joked about shooting journalists with his .45 pistol.

Garcia later apologized for his “jokes,” saying his “only mistake” was that he was “very comfortable talking with the press.”

Also on Monday, Duterte appointed  Kelvin Lester King Lee as chairman of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office-Movie and Television Review and Classification Board Appeals Committee and Marvin Reyes Gatpayat as the organization’s vice chairman.

Also on Monday, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña relieved several top bureau officials.

“I cannot put at stake another month for another experiment. Let my directive be clear: relieve the section chiefs and deputy collectors of district collections who did not reach the target,” Lapeña said. 

At least five Customs port districts did not reach the assigned revenue collection target, the Port of Manila, Manila International Container Port, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Port of Batangas and Port of Zamboanga.

However, Lapeña did not divulge the names of the officials yet. 

At the same time, Lapeña lauded the 12 Customs district collectors who exceeded their collection targets.

Among them are the Port of San Fernando which collected P256 million (0.7 percent above its target of P254 million);  Port of Legazpi, which collected P24 million (9.8 percent above its target of P22 million); Port of Iloilo, which collected P270 million (7.4 percent above its target of P251 million);  Port of Cebu which collected P2.271 billion (8.6 percent above its target of P2.091 billion);  Port of Tacloban, which collected P34 million (59.9 percent above its target of P21 million);  Port of Surigao, which collected P4 million (261.9 percent above its target of P1 million);  Port of Cagayan de Oro which collected P1.616 billion (23.3 percent above its target of P1.310 billion);  Port of Davao, which collected P1.785 billion (19.9 percent above its target of P1.489 billion);  Port of Subic, which collected P1.683 billion (0.8 percent above its target of P1.670 billion);  Port of Clark, which collected P135 million (10.7 percent above its target of P122 million);  Port of Aparri, which collected P5.6 million (39.5 percent above its target of P4 million) and Port of Limay, which collected P2.839 billion (0.6 percent above its target of P2.823 billion).

The bureau reported that it collected P40.798 billion in January, below its target of P46.394 billion.

Since his first day as Customs chief, Lapeña has ordered all BoC personnel to stop benchmarking shipments and to strictly apply the correct valuation on imported goods.

Despite falling short by 12 percent from its January collection target, Lapeña said he is optimistic that BoC will reach the 2018 collection target of P598 billion. With Joel E. Zurbano

Topics: Social Security System
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