Guerrero said he gave bureau officials and employees two options: either work with him and Duterte or leave the agency.
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BOC men told: Accept reforms or leave
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - July 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — As the Bureau of Customs stepped up its fight against corruption, BOC Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero yesterday advised officials and employees to either resign or retire if they could not work toward the reforms ordered by President Duterte.

Guerrero said he gave bureau officials and employees two options: either work with him and Duterte or leave the agency.

The President earlier ordered the bureau to finish the cleanup and implement the regulations in order to have an orderly system.

“With me as your commissioner, our agency has only two options: either we work together or we go our separate ways. We could work together in implementing the reforms and putting order in the system in the BOC and improve the image of our agency, or for those who would not follow or would not implement the guidelines set by our agency, we could go our separate ways,” Guerrero told officials and employees during the flag ceremony on Monday.

“If we will part ways, it is better that we do it well. It is either they resign or they retire, which I think is a good option,” he added.

Duterte recently admonished the BOC due to allegations that 64 of its officials and employees are involved in corruption.

In his State of the Nation Address on Monday, the President praised the BOC for collecting P585 billion in 2018.

But he said the agency could have collected more if there was no corruption.

Duterte wanted the 64 men and women, who are being referred to by some as the “BOC 52,” to leave the bureau.

It is still being determined if these people will be transferred to Malacañang or Congress, to help in paperwork. 

Guerrero said their investigation for the

BOC 52 is currently in different stages. He said some of the cases have been forwarded to the Department of Justice, while others are still being investigated.

Yesterday, Guerrero met with Undersecretary Jesus Melchor Quitain, officer-in-charge of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President, to discuss the transition of BOC 52 either to Malacañang or Congress.

He said that while the President did not give a deadline on the implementation of their transfer, “the fact remains that it is urgent.”

The number of officials and employees tagged in corruption was originally 64. It was down to 52 because some of them have retired or resigned from the agency.

Only 52 were invited to meet with the President on July 18.

Guerrero said he welcomed reports that some have tendered their resignation, noting it is a sign of sincerity.

“It is important that our people in the BOC know that we are determined in our efforts to attain reforms. They just need to follow the rules,” he added.

P7-M Ferrari destroyed

A P7-million Ferrari sports car that was misdeclared as auto parts was among the items that were destroyed by the BOC at the Port of Manila yesterday.

The second-hand 360 Spider model Ferrari arrived at the port on May 13. 

Guerrero and Quetain watched as a bulldozer ran over the metallic blue Ferrari imported from Italy.

BOC Assistant Commissioner and spokesman Vincent Philip Maronilla said that although the alleged consignee Camama Auto Hub abandoned the luxury car and the BOC forfeited the shipment, they would still pursue the filing of charges against the firm for misdeclaration.

The bureau has cancelled the firm’s accreditation and started the investigation. 

Maronilla said they are tracking the company’s previous importations and would apply the “third party confirmation program,” wherein the BOC will coordinate with the Land Transportation Office and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to determine the vehicles registered under the company and if there are declarations of used parts.

He said they would also check with the BIR the amount of taxes paid by the consignee and compare with the number of cars it imported.

While the vehicle arrived in the country with missing parts such as the hood, headlights, seats and rear bumper, the bureau still considered it as a completely built unit and not a semi knockdown vehicle.

Maronilla said the BOC believes it is possibile that the remaining parts of the car would arrive in another container.

He said importation of second-hand cars is prohibited under Executive Order 156, except if the importer is a returning resident or balikbayan, an overseas Filipino worker or member of the diplomatic corps. 

From Barangay Bagacay in Tacloban, Leyte, the BOC shipped to Manila 12 cigarette-making machines and more than 1,000 master cases of various brands of counterfeit cigarettes.

The BOC wanted to show that the illegal manufacture of these fake products also exists outside Luzon.

“It is actually very rampant in the provinces. They make cheaper version of these cigarettes. They would imitate and sell it at a lower price. There is a market for these cigarettes in the province,” Maronilla said.

These items were seized in February based on a warrant of seizure and detention issued after the owner of the machines allegedly failed to present proof of payment of duties and taxes.

Both the Ferrari and the cigarettes were confiscated based on allegations that they violated Customs Modernization and Tariff Act. 

Maronilla said the Ferrari scraps and the chopped parts of the cigarette-making machines would be auctioned off.

The fake cigarettes will be turned over to an accredited facility that can recycle it into common paper. 

BUREAU OF CUSTOMS REY LEONARDO GUERRERO
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