Outgoing Bureau of Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña on Thursday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's move to promote him to a Cabinet post.
Duterte announced his decision to appoint Lapeña as the next Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director general during the 117th anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard in Manila where he also named Maritime Industry Authority administrator Rey Leonardo Guerrero as Lapeña's replacement.
"It's a promotion actually for me. It's his way of instituting reforms sa Bureau of Customs and I respect that. I would like to thank the President for this another opportunity to serve in another capacity," Lapeña told reporters after the event.
The Customs chief viewed the appointment as a sign of Duterte's trust in him despite the alleged smuggling of multi-billion peso worth of shabu in the country last August.
"It's a promotion, so the trust is there," he said. "In any capacity I always serve at my best."
Guerrero, who took over the MARINA leadership only in May, said he was surprised by the President's announcement.
The former military chief also said Duterte told him to just do his job.
"Again it's a new field. Pumasok ako sa MARINA hindi naman ako galing sa industry, similarly sa Customs. It's a challenge and it's another thing that I have to overcome," Guerrero said.
Asked about what he feels about his new post, Guerrero said: "Excited. May konting apprehension."
In his speech, Duterte ordered the firing of deputy commissioners and "freezing" of all department heads of the bureau as the new commissioner, Guerrero, takes over.
"That's his instruction and I'm here to implement whatever reforms are needed," Guerrero said.
He said corrupt BOC officials and personnel "have no place in government service" even as he believes there is still hope for the agency.
Guerrero said he plans to meet with Lapeña to discuss the transition process.
"Pag-uusapan namin 'yung organization muna, tapos kung papaano natin ma-streamline 'yung processes, kung papaano natin mai-improve yung integrity systems," he said. —NB, GMA News