Duterte: Customs is anarchy, military needs to intervene

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The President says anyone appointed to the customs bureau will engage in corruption, which warrants the need for military intervention. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 11) — The President reiterated his claim that there is no militarization of the customs bureau but maintained that the military has to intervene to prevent corruption.

In a speech Saturday, the President said he did not appoint the military to specific positions in the Bureau of Customs (BOC). He explained that he was merely asking for their help because the BOC has become an "anarchy."

"Hindi naman militarization 'yan [That is not militarization]... When you are calling the military for help, you are not appointing them to any position neither are you designating them with specific functions," he said during his speech at the Subaraw Biodiversity Festival in Puerta Princesa, Palawan.

President Rodrigo Duterte said the BOC has become a place where any appointed official would be subjected to corruption, which warrants the need for military intervention.

"They [military] are there to keep peace because customs is an anarchy. Maski sinong ilagay mo talagang may corruption [Whoever you appoint to be there, there will still be corruption]" he maintained.

Duterte mentioned ex-Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, who was entangled in a "pork" controversy during his stint from 2011 to 2013.

The President earlier slammed reports of militarization in the bureau on Tuesday, saying there was no appointment of any sort.

"When I called in the army to help the Bureau of Customs, there was no designation. There was no appointment and there was never an instruction for them to take over the functions of the employees," he said.

In October, Duterte said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would take over the BOC, as all employees of the agency were on floating status.

The President then said, "They will be replaced, all of them, by military men. It will be a takeover of the armed forces in the matter of operating in the meantime, while we are sorting out how to effectively meet the challenges of corruption in this country."

His order drew flak and some senators also questioned the order's legality.

READ: Duterte defends soldiers' takeover of Bureau of Customs