Banana quarantine officer fired over extortion issues


This could be the first sacking of a government official under the Duterte administration for corruption.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Sunday he relieved a Bureau of Plant Industry quarantine officer based in Sasa Port in Davao City amid reports of extortion.
“After I received complaints from small exporters of Cavendish banana that the BPI Quarantine Officer in Sasa Port, Andres Alemania, and some of his people were demanding ‘fees’ for every container van, I immediately directed BPI Acting Director Vivencio Mamaril to issue a relief order,” he said on his Facebook account.
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Corruption ends now!
BANANA QUARANTINE OFFICER
FIRED OVER EXTORTION ISSUES

By Manny Piñol

Some people are either slow learners or simply dumb.
Two weeks after President Rody Duterte assumed the highest post of the land vowing to stop corruption, the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Quarantine Officer based in the Sasa Port, Davao City has been relieved from his post following reports that his office has been demanding grease money from exporters of Cavendish banana.
After I received complaints from small exporters of Cavendish banana that the BPI Quarantine Officer in Sasa Port, Andres Alemania, and some of his people were demanding "fees" for every container van, I immediately directed BPI Acting Director Vivencio Mamaril to issue a relief order.
On Monday, July 18, I will issue another directive to Director Mamaril to relieve the whole BPI Quarantine Service staff in Sasa Port down to the janitor and replace them with a fresh group of Quarantine Officers.
There will be due process.
This week, I will dispatch graft investigators belonging to a new unit I organized in the Department of Agriculture to proceed to the Sasa Port in Davao City to validate the charges.
They will interview the over 200 Cavendish banana exporters who have reportedly been paying the "special fees" to the BPI Quarantine Office for so many years now.
The going rate, according to sources I talked with is P8,000 per container or P40,000 per exporter per transaction.
Considering that there are over 200 exporters, not to mention the huge players like Dole Philippines, Sumifru, Tadeco, Uni-Frutti and others, I can just imagine how much these people, granting that the charges are true, have been raking in all these years.
Lifestyle check will also be conducted on the said officials and if the charges are validated, I will officially ask the Office of the Ombudsman to start an official investigation and recommend the filing of graft charges.
In my trip from Manila to Davao this week, passing by Naga City, Catbalogan City and Sogod, Southern Leyte for consultations with farmers and fisherfolk, I reminded DA officials that corruption must end in the department.
President Duterte's vow to rid government of corrupt officials is not just cheap talk. It will be done.
Learn, adapt, adjust or get fired.

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