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Letters to the Editor

BOC reforms in place

The Philippine Star

This has reference to the column entitled “Customs more profitable than Cabinet” by Mr. Cito Beltran, published on June 15, 2022. The said article mentioned reports of fuel and agricultural smuggling, and the allegations of graft and corruption within the agency, including controversies surrounding the selection of the next Bureau of Customs (BOC) Commissioner.

In the interest of service, we wish to inform you of the massive efforts the BOC has undertaken to reform its procedures and processes to eliminate graft and corruption while fulfilling its mandates of revenue collection, trade facilitation and border protection.

In 2019, BOC enrolled to the 4-Stage Performance Governance System (PGS) of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA). The PGS is a significant tool of good governance reform promoting the efficient delivery of services and the establishment of a positive climate for market institutions. It also calls for effective, sustained and systematic contributions from individuals and institutions for the common good of their institution or community and of the Philippines as well as the long-term development of the Filipino.

In April 2022, after two and a half years since its enrolment in the PGS, BOC passed the Institutionalization Stage, the fourth and final stage of the PGS Pathway with a GOLD Governance Trailblazer Award, the highest PGS award, making BOC an “Island of Good Governance.”

The Institutionalization Status was granted after the successful audit review of the BOC’s performance for at least two years of implementing its PGS strategy and Institutionalization Revalida.

BOC made history for attaining the GOLD Governance Trailblazer Award for all four stages of the PGS.

In addition, twelve (12) BOC ports and offices are now ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systern (QMS) certified. This is aligned with the BOC’s 10-Point Priority Program for 2022, pursuing Integrity Development and Quality Management for all offices and ports under the Bureau.

The ISO 9001:2015 is a widely known and internationally accepted standard for quality management and recognizes organizations with a QMS that consistently provide services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

The ISO Certification of BOC offices and units proves that the BOC’s standardized processes are consistently followed.

Moreover, as part of BOC’s support and commitment to curbing corruption and red tape in the government, all officials and personnel of the Bureau signed a Manifesto against corruption on March 30, 2021. The manifesto is aimed at enabling a God-centered anti-corruption advocacy and moral transformation.

The BOC-PACC Command Group & BOC’s Anti-Corruption Coordinating Committees were also created to oversee the anti-corruption campaign within the Bureau, aligned with the PACC’s Project Kasangga. The initiative serves as a holistic way of stamping out corruption, which complements the task force of the Department of Justice and national government.

The Bureau also enrolled in the Integrity Development Program of the World Customs Organization (WCO) where it received a 70 percent favorable rating based on responses from both internal and external stakeholders.

As part of the BOC’s consistent campaign against corruption, 1,456 show-cause orders were issued against customs employees for non-compliance with existing customs rules and regulations from 2016 to May 2022. Of these, 688 were investigated by the BOC-Customs Intelligence and Investigation Service (CIIS).

This resulted in the filing of 187 administrative cases before the BOC-Legal Service and the transmittal of 164 cases to the Office of the Ombudsman and 86 to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Consequently, 27 Customs personnel were dismissed, 32 were suspended, 23 were reprimanded and 209 were relieved. In addition, 4,034 were reshuffled or transferred to various offices and/or ports due to irregular and unlawful activities.

Furthermore, BOC continuously implements its mandate to mark fully paid imported petroleum products under the Fuel Marking Program, 42.247 billion liters of kerosene, diesel and gasoline were marked from September 2019 to May 2022, equivalent to P411.62 billion in taxes collected.

The markers serve as identifiers during field testing to determine the presence of illicit fuel in the market. The Fuel Marking Program aims to raise revenues while curbing fuel smuggling and leveling the Philippine oil industry’s playing field.

The intensified border protection efforts of the BOC resulted to the conduct of 2,829 seizures from 2018 to May 2022, with an estimated value of P71.19 billion. Of these figures, 547 seizures of agricultural products with an estimated value of P2.51 billion were recorded.

Lastly, the BOC has an 8484-text hotline where the public may report information relating to corruption, smuggling and other customs fraud. All information received by BOC in the hotline are treated with utmost confidentiality and are accorded appropriate actions.

I hope this letter makes known the reformation initiatives we implemented to fulfill the performance of our mandates while eliminating graft and corruption in the agency, which are anchored to our drive of providing better service to our stakeholders and the general public. – Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, Commissioner

BUREAU OF CUSTOMS

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