A citizens’ arm that will monitor the revenues, collections and other operations of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is being formed in Mindanao to ensure that the funds of the Filipino people are secured.
Fr. Albert Alejo from the Ateneo de Zamboanga said they will organize a Citizens Customs Action Network (CITIZCAN) that will expose the truth behind the reforms implemented by the government.
Alejo added that the corruption in the BOC was still rampant under the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, despite of his well-published straight path or “tuwid na daan.”
“In the [Department of Public Works and Highways] there is Bantay Lansangan, in the [Com–mission on Audit] there is a citizens’ participatory audit and in the [Commission on Elections] there is the [National Movement for Free Elections]. In the [BOC], there is no [watchdog], it is not monitored by anti-corruption organizations because it is a closed system,” the priest said.
He cited that the group will first look into the expenses of the government in purchasing the P250 million worth of x-ray scanners in Davao that remained unused for four years.
But Alejo clarified that they will expose corruption activities not only in the South, but in the entire country.
He said that other civic groups including the policy division of the Asian Institute of Management, Kaya Natin, People Power Volun–teers and The People’s Action vowed to support their advocacy.
Alejo said they raised the issue of corruption with former BOC chief Ruffy Biazon, who merely said there were people controlling their operations.
Thus, he lauded new BOC chief Sonny Sevilla as a “sincere, intelli–gent and competent” chief, but who has only a few years left in office.
“That is why we want to sup–port the reforms being initiated by Sevilla. We want to become partners,” Alejo said.
Robertzon F. Ramirez