8 BOC collectors axed over poor performance, not politics
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Poor performance and not politics was the apparent reason why eight port collectors of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have been removed from their posts.

Reading from a BOC report, Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, who chairs the House ways and means committee, said yesterday that most of the eight – all retired military officers – failed to meet their collection targets.

Quimbo said the shortfalls were P24 billion for 2014 and P14 billion for 2015 for the Port of Manila (POM); P17 billion for 2014 for the Manila International Container Port (MICP), and P10 billion for 2014 for the port in Limay in Bataan.

“These are huge amounts of shortfalls. The money, had it been collected, could have funded many programs of the government. I think the collector, whether he is a retired military officer or not, has to take responsibility and answer for it,” he said.

Quimbo said the collection performance of the ports under the former military officers worsened.

He cited the case of the POM, which had a smaller collection deficit of P9 billion in 2013.

The eight who were relieved and their port assignments were Esteban Castro, Clark International Airport; Ernesto Benitez, Batangas; Mario Mendoza, POM; Elmir dela Cruz, MICP; Arnulfo Marcos, Cebu; Jerry Lorescom, Zamboanga City; Bonifacio de Castro, San Fernando, La Union, and Rolando Ricafrente, Limay.

Based on the BOC figures submitted to the House panel, Quimbo said only Marcos met his 2015 target collection.

Quimbo said he could not understand why the Cebu port collector was replaced.

Deputy Customs Commissioner Jesse Dellosa, former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told the committee that another “good performer” was Lorescom of the Zamboanga City port.

“I was the one who recruited the eight. They have been asking me why they were removed and I could not provide answer,” Dellosa said.

He suggested that the performance of other BOC collectors be reviewed.

Dellosa claimed that the collector assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was not doing his job well.

Explaining the removal of the eight BOC collectors, Department of Finance Assistant Secretary Danielle Marie Rieza said they were part of the DOF office for revenue agency modernization.

“They were designated port collectors on a project assignment basis, funding for which has been removed by Congress (in the 2016 budget),” she said.

This is the reason for the relief of Marcos and Lorescom even if their performance was satisfactory, Rieza said.

She added the deputy collectors in the eight ports were appointed officers-in-charge.

Removal of funding for the eight BOC collectors prompted Dellosa to claim that congressmen in the areas where the former military officers were assigned were responsible for their ouster.

However, when Quimbo asked Dellosa to name names, the latter said his statement was just “suspicion” on his part.  

Quimbo chided Dellosa for making an allegation based on suspicion.

ACIRC ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES ARNULFO MARCOS BUREAU OF CUSTOMS CEBU CLARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT DELLOSA DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE ASSISTANT SECRETARY DANIELLE MARIE RIEZA DEPUTY CUSTOMS COMMISSIONER JESSE DELLOSA PORT QUIMBO
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