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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs         10    May 2011

Corruption in Philippines Customs?

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Philippines Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday said that he was preparing his first exposè on alleged graft committed by the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

Lacson added that he has enough documents that will expose alleged corruption in the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

“Right now, we’re looking at corruption in the BOC,” the senator told reporters. Lacson refused to give details but said that the alleged graft was being committed by personnel from “middle to lower level.”

He said that he was yet to evaluate if the alleged corruption goes up to higher officials and even to those in Malacañang.

“We have information but it’s very hazy. We have very sketchy reports that are subject to verification,” Lacson added.

The senator said that he will immediately inform President Aquino about the matter once he has “solid” information.

“I want to find out what action the President will take on the matter,” he added. Mr. Aquino was elected president in May 2010.

His campaign slogan, “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap [There will be no poverty if there is no corruption], seemed to have helped catapult him to Malacañang.

President Aquino appointed Angelito Alvarez to head the Customs bureau. Since assuming office, Alvarez has initiated criminal charges against several importers for allegedly mis-declaring or under-declaring their Customs or tariff payments, and for smuggling.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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