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Relieved MICP head accepts fate but affirms she ran the port amid lack of key officials

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By Betheena Kae Unite

Relieved district collector of the Manila International Container Port (MICP) expressed that she respects the Customs chief’s decision to replace her but stressed that despite not hitting the target she managed to run the port amid being undermanned.

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena and Manila International Container Port District Collector Maritess Martin on Thursday discovered seven containers with misdeclared agricultural products, ukay-ukay, and cigarettes. (Photo by Frank Javier/BOC-PIAD) (C) Facebook

Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena and Manila International Container Port District Collector Maritess Martin. (Photo by Frank Javier/BOC-PIAD)
(C) Facebook

Former MICP district collector Maritess Martin said late Tuesday, a day after her relief from her post was announced, that she respects the move to replace her and that she has no other choice but to comply.

“All I can say is as district collector of the MICP, I spearheaded the collection of P14.2 billion higher than any of the 16 other collectors. Since we did not hit our target it’s the policy decision of the Commissioner then I have no other choice but to follow,” Martin told the Manila Bulletin.

Martin stressed that MICP has the highest revenue collection target among all other ports under the Bureau of Customs, however, the port also lack key personnel that is crucial in the collection process.

“The target given was so huge compared to the volume of importation arriving and being processed. Considering as well the limitations of not having any deputy collector for Assessment, no deputy collector for Administration, no chief of Formal Entry Division and we lack the much needed examiners and appraisers,” Martin noted.

” Yet I managed to run the port and still collected P14.2 billion notwithstanding the number of apprehensions and seizures of 31containers of misdeclared onions worth P46.5 million, three containers of fake cigarettes amounting to P50 million, two containers of ukay ukay, two containers of misdeclared household wares but found to contain food stuff with no CPR and FDA clearance and other apprehension else,” she added.

“I respect Commissioner Lapeña,” Martin continued.

The MICP, one of the major ports in the country, was unable to hit its revenue target of P15.611 billion, collecting only P14.199 billion for the month of May.

It was the second port to collect the highest collection for the month, next to Port of Batangas with P14.454 billion revenue.

Despite collecting the second highest revenue collection, MICP fell short in its target, causing its district collector — Martin– to be relieved in compliance with Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena’s directive to relieve every district collector who fails to hit the collection target.

Since the start of the year, several movement of district collectors have been implemented, following the result of the monthly collection performance of their respective ports.

On Monday, Lawyer Vener Baquiran has assumed office as the new district collector of MICP, replacing Martin.

Meantime, Martin was placed under floating status at the Compliance Monitoring Unit but according to Lapena, it will only be temporary.

It can be recalled that Baquiran, who was also relieved as Port of Manila’s district collector in April, was placed under floating status before he was given the post as MICP district collector.

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