President Rodrigo Duterte directed the Bureau of Customs to step up efforts to attain revenue goals.
AP/Bullit Marquez, File photo
Duterte to BOC: Beef up Customs enforcement, live simply
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - February 8, 2017 - 5:53pm

MANILA, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday ordered the employees of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) – an agency he once labeled as one of the most corrupt in government – to strengthen their revenue collection efforts and to live simple lives.

Duterte said BoC revenues would allow him to acquire equipment that can address security threats, including the communist insurgency and terrorism.

“(Customs) Commissioner (Nicanor) Faeldon, you have your hands full. You have the communist front confronting us. I terminated the ceasefire talks because they went overboard. Then you have the drug front and the coming of the ISIS (Islamic State). They will come I am sure,” the president said during the BoC's 115th anniversary in Manila. 

“That’s the bigger problem I would need money to buy the equipment and the things they would need to keep this country in order,” he added.

Duterte directed the BoC to step up efforts to attain their revenue targets.

“As the BOC is at the frontline of our campaign against smuggling and illegal drugs, I encourage you to beef up your Customs enforcement operations,” the president said.

“I urge the agency to continue to find ways to improve its operations, continue to simplify procedures and centralize operations; particularly in the areas of trade facilitation and border control so that they can keep hitting and exceeding targets in the coming years,” he added.

Before assuming the presidency, Duterte threatened to abolish the BoC, the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Land Transportation Office, agencies that he described as the “most corrupt” in government.

He has also vowed to be harsh when dealing with corrupt officials and to give the Filipino people a clean government

“With the combined efforts of its leadership, its employees, the private sector and the Filipino people, I am hopeful that the Bureau of Customs will no longer be tagged as among the most corrupt agencies in the coming years,” Duterte said.

In jest, Duterte vowed to increase the salaries of Customs personnel by P1 million.

“I’m the 16th president. That would be the duty now of the 25th president to implement my promise,” the president said.

“In the meantime live simply…The secret really there is do not crave for things you cannot afford. Do not dream of things which are beyond your reach,” he added.

Duterte asked the BoC to continue collaborating with its foreign counterparts by exchanging information and finding more avenues of cooperation. 

“You have my full support in developing the BoC’s law enforcement capabilities. And so you can conduct these operations more effectively and efficiently,” the president said.

He cited the installation of closed-circuit television cameras in strategic locations around the BOC building in Port Area, Manila, which is part of the effort to prevent illegal activities.

“Revenues give us the means to run government and provide crucial services to our people. As the money collected by the Bureau of Customs counts for a significant chunk of government earnings, we have to be relentless in our drive to maintain credible, efficient and effective Customs Bureau,” Duterte said.

A BUREAU OF CUSTOMS
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