BoC clarifies media mix-up

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Bureau of Customs (BoC) spokesman Atty. Dino Austria on Thursday clarified that there was a misunderstanding in the scrapping of the agency’s policy that required journalists to seek permission before interviewing any of its officials.

In a radio interview, Austria said that the bureau’s Public Information and Assistance Division (PIAD) directive to media entities to write to Commissioner Leonardo Guerrero at least five days before getting reactions from officials of the agency is not a directive from the BoC commissioner.

“There may have been some misinterpretation and misunderstanding on the part of our PIAD office about the instructions moving forward,” said Austria, noting that after the policy was issued, he immediately clarified with reporters that the BoC is “accessible through our public information office or through myself.”

Austria stressed that Guerrero, who took over the BoC late last month, is willing to answer queries from the media any time of the day.

“At any hour of the day that clarification about any information is needed, this can be immediately obtained from us,” said Austria.

In a separate interview, National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) chairman Nonoy Espina said that the alleged BoC directive of “no request, no interview” would have violated the public’s constitutional right to access information.

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