Duterte wants more military men in BOC
Duterte earlier pushed for a military takeover at Customs amid allegations of widespread and massive corruption among its officials and some of its employees.

Duterte wants more military men in BOC

Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - July 7, 2019 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY , Philippines  —   The problem of corruption hounding the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is far from over, according to President Duterte, who vowed there would be more heads rolling next week.

“When I go back (to Manila), I would be firing more from the Bureau of Customs. I’m just telegraphing… Maybe I’ll put the (Customs) under the control of the Army,” Duterte said during the inauguration of the Chen Yi Agventures Rice Processing Center in Alangalang, Leyte on Friday.

“I will go for the Customs again. There will be a lot of dismissals I hope. And I try to really stop the corruption in the higher crust of government,” he added. 

Duterte earlier pushed for a military takeover at Customs amid allegations of widespread and massive corruption among its officials and some of its employees. 

Malacañang said the President is “merely exercising his constitutionally mandated functions” when he issued the order for the military to take over the BOC.

Customs Assistant Commissioner Vincent Philip Maronilla said they would wait for the President to announce who among them will be on the chopping block.

“We would allow the President to first make an announcement on who are the personalities because right now we do not know,” he said.

Maronilla said the President is sharing his plan for the BOC in the coming days.

“Once the full announcement is (made)… we would make a comment. I am sure there would be other details so we would wait for that,” he said.

Maronilla said the President’s announcement might also be taken up on Monday during the executive committee (Execom) meeting.

But despite the possibility that more military men would be joining their ranks, Maronilla said he remains optimistic that the changes would be in compliance with the law.

“I am sure that whatever he (Duterte) is going to do, I am sure it will be within the bounds of the law. He previously said that he would respect the law and the Constitution in the changes that he will be making… The President is a lawyer so I am sure that he knows how to execute those kinds of policies and instructions,” he said. 

Duterte has appointed five former military officials in the BOC, including Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Deputy Director Intelligence Group Raniel Ramiro and Deputy Director for Internal Administration Group (IAG) Donato Belmonte San Juan.

Last October, Duterte ordered the deployment of soldiers and Philippine Coast Guard personnel to the BOC to combat the corruption in the bureau.

About 300 military personnel were sent to the bureau after a billion-peso shipment of shabu allegedly slipped past the Manila International Container Port last year.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian proposed to break up the BOC into two bodies – one for monitoring contraband and the other for tax and tariff collections.

Gatchalian said this is to minimize corruption in the agency.

He admitted that the concept of breaking up the BOC is not a common practice but it is a practical solution to minimize corruption by eliminating human contact or interaction.

He said the corruption in the BOC is so rampant that even a security guard assigned there could have millions.

Gatchalian also pushed for fully automated and computerized operations of the bureau.

Gatchalian cited the ports in Singapore, which he said are fully computerized and automated.  – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Evelyn Macairan

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