Customs officer, an ideal career


Members of the 6th cycle take their oath after completing the Customs Basic Training last week. (Jon Perez)

Marivic de Castro Quichocho is hoping more women would someday follow her footsteps and become customs officers of the CNMI Division of Customs Service. The 44-year-old Tinian resident was among the 10 members of the 6th cycle that completed customs basic training held Thursday at Building A of the Saipan seaport.

She’s the lone female graduate and was joined by Vincent Ubag Reyes Jr. from Tinian, while Gaylord Masga Manglona and David Vince Manglona Ogo represented Rota. Julio Kamantique Cruz, Alfred Sasamoto Santos II, Luis Javin Crisostomo Untalan, Zachary Jaime Benavente Sasamoto, Kelvin Travis Flores Sablan, and Philip John Deleon Guerrero Sablan are from Saipan.

Quichocho said she had been working at Customs for 10 years as a baggage inspector but it was only recently that she decided to try being a customs officer. “At first, I was hesitant to join but I decided to give it a shot as an alternative career.”

“I just hope more women would join and become customs officers. It is a proud moment for me and for my family. I learned a lot of new things. Now, I’m ready to put into use these skills,” added Quichocho.

She said they went through more than 10 months of training, as they needed to complete 288 hours of drills and other seminars. She almost gave up, especially in the physical test part of their training.

“You’re running for a number of miles at around 3:30pm, under the heat of the sun. I almost gave up. It was really tough but I kept on praying, and thought of my husband and kids,” said Quichocho, who felt relief at completing the course.

Another interesting sidelight of the ceremony was when Rep. John Paul Sablan (R-Saipan) proudly pinned the badge on his son, Philip John Sablan, in a symbolic gesture as if passing on the torch. The elder Sablan, who is also the chairman of the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation, is a former customs officer before being elected a lawmaker in Precinct 3.

CNMI Attorney General Edward J. Manibusan administered the oath of the 10 new customs officers. There are now close to 20 women who are working at Customs with the addition of Quichocho.

Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog, who was acting governor last week, led other CNMI officials in attending the simple but meaningful ceremony. He was joined by Cabinet secretaries Larrisa Larson (Finance) and Edith Deleon Guerrero (Labor).

Senate President Francisco M. Borja (Ind-Tinian), Senate Vice President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan), Republican Sens. Steve K. Mesngon and Teresita Santos from Rota, and Tinan Sen. Francisco Q. Cruz, Reps. Edwin K. Propst, Joseph Leepan Guerrero, Blas Jonathan Attao, George Camacho, Edwin Aldan, and Glenn Maratita were the other CNMI Legislature members who attended the event.

Acting mayor Antonia Tudela (Saipan), Mayors Joey Patrick San Nicolas (Tinian) and Efraim Atalig (Rota) joined other officials from the Department of Public Safety, Department of Corrections, U.S. Marshalls, Drug Enforcement Administration, CNMI Ports Police, and Customs Border Patrol.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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